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Breasts bounced in every direction on the dance floor of the Moulin Rouge Lounge. The hottest new nightclub on South Beach overflowed with women dressed in clothes that would be at home on the beach as much as the bar scene - halter tops, plunging necklines and enough Lycra to clothe the U.S. swim team well into the next decade.
Despite the dazzling display of feminine flesh highlighted by flashing blue strobe lights, attorney Jackson Taggart wasn't looking for breasts. Other guys might get caught up in cup sizes or long legs, but for his first venture into Miami's decadent nightlife in nearly a year, Jackson narrowed his focus to one thing.
Tonight, he'd sell his soul for the woman with the right ... mouth.
In an effort to forget the hell his private life had become over the last few weeks, he watched women of every shape and size flirt, dance and sip brightly colored drinks from the Moulin Rouge's signature bar glasses featuring the frilly panties of a cancan girl with long, stocking clad legs.
He had a certain woman in mind, a woman unlike any he'd ever been with before. A bedroom goddess who didn't give a damn about his well-known family or the scandal of the decade in which they were currently ensnared.
Flagging a brunette bartender dressed in a uniform of silky white lingerie, Jackson started to request his standard imported beer and stopped himself. The hunt for a wild bedroom goddess at least deserved a shot of whiskey. His order given, he settled in for the search, eager to engage in anything that didn't involve damage control in the media, angry family shouting matches and an ever-looming pressure to enter a cutthroat state legislature race.
Tossing back his whiskey, he concentrated on a single, simple task.
Finding the right mouth.
He scanned the crowd and found ... pink bubblegum lips. Nah. Too sweet for what he had in mind. And even worse, too much like his ex-girlfriend.
Sparkly gold lips. High-maintenance diva - not a chance.
Bright-red lips looked wild enough, but broadening his visual scan he noted that the pale face and solid black outfit looked a bit Goth. Too moody.
None of those mouths pointed to the kind of woman he needed to find. But he had no intention of going home unfulfilled. Not this time.
Then he spied them.
The deep, rich muted burgundy that was neither too red nor too purple. Soft, full lips that suggested lush sensuality. A lack of shiny lip gloss made for a mouth that was at once kissable and not too self-conscious.
Jackson flung a bill across the bar to pay for his drink, scarcely noticing the glass-encased waterfall behind the throng of busy bartenders. Already on the move, he followed the woman who had caught his attention as she turned away and headed toward the back of the room.
From the brief glimpse he'd snagged of her face, he acknowledged she was uncommonly pretty. Still, he had a vague impression of her being a little unusual. Something about the odd mix of fabrics in her rosy-hued dress with the ragged hem maybe, or the wavy flaxen mermaid hair decorated with scattered thin braids that looked to be ... pink?
He caught up with her just inside the bar's back room - a decadent lounge ringed with private, curtained booths. She met a tall woman with auburn hair and kick-ass legs dressed in an unadorned, steel-gray cat suit. He didn't bother checking out her lips. He'd already found perfection.
Straying closer to their position near a scaled-down minibar, Jackson didn't necessarily mean to overhear them. They shouted over the music, making it nearly impossible not to hear them. Especially considering he loomed just a few feet away.
"No luck with the manhunt?" the auburn-haired woman asked between sips of a green drink. Margarita, maybe.
The blonde shook her head and rolled her eyes. She was as expressive as the redhead was reserved. "Every guy I've met here has been too forward, too obvious and too eager to cut to the chase. I'm not asking for big-time romance, Bri. I'd just like to see a little originality in the approach. I mean, where's the ..."
The sudden whirr of a blender at the minibar drowned out the rest. Jackson leaned forward, more than a little curious to know what the woman with the world's most perfect lips had to say about her personal turn-ons. But by the time the blender switched off, the redhead spoke.
"... then again, Aidan is pretty much a case study in originality."
The name caught his attention and made a few mental wheels turn. Jackson's friend and former college roommate, federal agent Aidan Maddock had just got engaged to one of the new part owners of Club Paradise.
Could it be the same woman?
While he puzzled that out, the blonde yanked her friend by the arm. "Come on. You've got to come see my latest little pleasure palace. You're going to love it."
Jackson could have used another drink - or two - as he contemplated what exactly these gorgeous females had in mind. Obviously women were discussing things a hell of a lot more interesting than the status of the NASDAQ and baseball box scores when they hit the bars.
Determined to keep those lips in his sights, he followed the pair as they leaned close to one another, whispering and laughing as they edged through the crowd.
Picking up speed, he tracked them out the back doors of the club leading to the exclusive resort connected to the Moulin Rouge Lounge and followed them past the semierotic paintings gracing the spacious corridors.
Careful to stay well behind the women, Jackson watched the blonde flounce down the hallway, a definite swing to her hips.
"It has tons of erotic potential," the bedroom goddess confided to her friend as she straightened some kind of see-through red shawl flung around her shoulders. "Not that I'll ever be able to make use of it, but I'm sure other people will benefit from my ingenuity."
"No whips and chains, I hope?" The tall redhead checked the oversize watch on her wrist while Jackson gulped.
"Now Brianne, you know we only allow velvet shackles. But this is much more refined. Very hot, very red. The room practically oozes sex."
They rounded a corner and Jackson couldn't possibly turn back. More than ever, he wanted to taste the lips of a woman who saw erotic potential and oozing sex in something so mundane as a room. How much pleasure might a woman like that find in a man?
The prospect effectively drowned out ninety percent of the other concerns that had been dogging his heels for the last month. Tonight he would pursue what he wanted instead of what everyone else expected from him.
Excerpted from Girl's Guide To Hunting & Kissing by Joanne Rock Copyright ©2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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