Hot and Bothered

( 84 )


When Victoria Hamilton's vacation fling resulted in a baby, she began a new life far from her overbearing family. Now Tori's father has been murdered—and her half brother, Jared, needs her help to prove his innocence. But confronting her past when she comes face-to-face with private investigator John "Rocket" Miglionni sure isn't what she had in mind.

Thrilled to find the woman who once rocked his world, John takes one look at her little girl and gets the shock of his life. Now ...

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When Victoria Hamilton's vacation fling resulted in a baby, she began a new life far from her overbearing family. Now Tori's father has been murdered—and her half brother, Jared, needs her help to prove his innocence. But confronting her past when she comes face-to-face with private investigator John "Rocket" Miglionni sure isn't what she had in mind.

Thrilled to find the woman who once rocked his world, John takes one look at her little girl and gets the shock of his life. Now the rugged former Marine has two females holding a big piece of his heart, a troubled teenager who expects the worst in life…and a second chance to make it right for all of them.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A classic plot line receives a fresh, fun treatment in the final book in Andersen's trilogy (Head over Heels; Getting Lucky) featuring hunky former Marine buddies who find love-or rediscover it-in unexpected places. A weeklong, no-last-names romance in Pensacola leaves John Miglionni with the determination to take a hard look at his life, and high-society architect Victoria Hamilton with memories of hot loving and a very real pregnancy. Now, six years later, when Victoria's younger brother, Jared, disappears the night their father is fatally stabbed, Victoria hires a detective from Semper Fi Investigations to track down Jared and prove his innocence-only to discover the PI is her long-ago lover, John. Surprise daddyhood, concern for Jared and an awareness of their disparate backgrounds delay the sexual sparks between John and Victoria, but once the fire starts, there's no putting it out. Still, John and Victoria have to work through their issues of mistrust and uncover who really killed Victoria's father before they can have a future together. John's worries about his ability to be a good father and several likable, well-developed secondary characters add depth to this zesty novel, placing it a level beyond most of its competition. Agent, Meg Ruley. (Aug.) Forecast: This book's electric pink cover, which places heavy emphasis on the word "Hot," will stand out on the shelves like a neon sign, beckoning browsers. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From The Critics
"Hot, edgy, wry and addictive."(Elizabeth Lowell)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373774197
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 852,220
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Andersen is a bestselling author and proud mama of a grown son. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over forty-five years and her cats Boo and Mojo. To be added to Susan’s email list to hear about upcoming releases, please visit her website at and enter your email address on the contact page. Or become a member of her Facebook fan page at
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Read an Excerpt

"Come on, darlin'," John Miglionni murmured to the curvy little redhead. "Just let yourself go. You know you wanna—it'll feel so good."

He sucked in a satisfied breath when she did as he urged. "Yes!" he whispered… and zoomed in the lens of his camcorder on the woman across the field as she finally swung herself up onto the back of a quarter horse at least fifteen hands tall. His client, Colorado Insurance, would be ecstatic, as this would go a long way toward putting a serious crimp in the woman's multimillion-dollar disability claim against the company. The injury she had insisted under oath rendered her unable to ride her beloved horse was clearly fraudulent.

He kept his camera trained on her as she took the horse over the paddock fence and galloped across the high plains that spread out east of Denver. Once she was no longer identifiable through the lens, he packed up his equipment and headed down the road to where he'd left the dusty, beat-up old tan pickup truck he was using for this morning's surveillance.

Forty-five minutes later he banged through the front door of Semper Fi Investigations, grinning when his office manager Gert MacDellar jumped and slapped a hand to her bony chest.

"Good Gawd, Almighty," she snapped, glaring at him over the top of her rhinestone-studded cat's-eye glasses. "You scared a dozen years off my life! And at my age, boy, I can't afford to lose a single minute, much less more than a decade."

"As if you aren't gonna outlive us all, Mac." John hooked a leg over the corner of her desk, perching a bun on its solid oak corner. He handed her the camcorder. "Download this for the Colorado Insurance file. Then tally up the final invoice to include three and a half hours for today."

Her faded blue eyes, which were several shades lighter than her rigidly upswept hair, lit up behind the pristine lenses of her glasses. "You got her?"

"Yes, ma'am. Dead to rights."

Gert whooped and plugged the high-tech digital camcorder into its docking station. Downloading its contents with one hand, she used the other to pull a short stack of pink "While You Were Out" slips from beneath a chunk of polished quartz. "Here. You had a few calls."

John read the first slip, then slid it to the back of the stack. He handed the second message back to Gert. "Give this one to Les," he said referring to the engineer he'd recently hired to handle the increased spate of product liability cases that had been coming his way. Scanning the next message, he narrowed his eyes and looked back up, pinning Gert in place as he thrust that one, too, at her.

"You know I don't do domestic cases anymore."

"Well, you oughtta," she said unrepentantly, making no move to take the slip. "They pay very well."

"Yes, they do. They're also chock-full of highly charged emotions and invasion of privacy problems, and frankly I'm not interested in sneaking around taking pictures of people having quickies. Now, if one of the spouses is hiding assets on the other, I'm your man, and I'll be more than happy to ferret them out. But if they just want someone to dig up dirt they can use to bury their partner, refer 'em to the Hayden Agency down in LoDo." He dropped the message slip onto the desk.

Gert huffed and gave her lacquered updo a comforting pat, but she argued no further and John looked at the last note.

And smiled. "All right, now this looks much more my thing. Give me a runaway any day of the week." Settling himself more comfortably on the edge of the desk, he gave Gert his full attention. "Tell me about this one."

She perked up, her disgruntlement forgotten. "Have you read about that tycoon down in Colorado Springs who got himself stabbed through the heart with a letter opener?"

"Yeah. Somebody—Somebody Hamilton, wasn't it?"

"Ford Evans Hamilton. His daughter, Victoria, is our potential client. Well, I actually talked to the lawyer, but you get my drift. Ms. Hamilton's seventeen-year-old half brother, Jared, disappeared the same day Daddy bought the farm."

"The kid kill him?"

"According to Robert Rutherford, the attorney, Ms. Hamilton, or Evans Hamilton, or whatever she calls herself, swears young Jared isn't capable of that kind of violence. But he's been in trouble before—and he's definitely a person of interest to the police, so she'd like to locate him before they do. Apparently he has a tendency to give a lot of attitude when he's cornered or scared and she knows that lipping off to the cops won't improve his situation."

Having suffered similar tendencies as a youth, John could readily identify with the teenager and he flashed his office manager a big, feral smile. "Then isn't it lucky for her that her lawyer called in the best." It wasn't couched as a question.

"Lord, you are the cocky one." Gert bared her own bright white dentures. "It's one of the things I've always liked best about you."

He laughed. "Aw, Mac, admit it, you like everything about me. We're so compatible, in fact, I'm surprised we haven't run off and gotten hitched by now."

Her puckered mouth looked as if she'd sucked a lemon, but John knew the flush tinting her cheeks stemmed from pleasure, not disapproval. She loved being teased, but he was more likely to see her update her stuck-in-the-fifties look sometime in the new millennium than ever hear her admit it.

As if reading his mind, she gave him a stern look over the top of her glasses. "I swear you could go to a wake and end up flirting with the corpse."

He slapped a hand to his heart. "Why, Gert MacDel-lar, I'm crushed you'd think so. You know I'd only do that if the corpse were female."

Her lips quirked, which was no doubt what prompted the impatient flip of her fingers that waved him off. "Get out of here, you fool. Go call that lawyer back and make us some money."

"Yes, ma'am." He snapped off a smart salute. "I know how you love those billable hours." Then he rose from the desk and headed for his office to talk to a man about a case.

Victoria knew she had to get a grip. Sometimes, though, that was a lot easier said than done and, pacing the parlor of her late father's mansion, she freely admitted her emotions were in chaos.

At the small, quiet core of her, she was simply glad to be back. As much as she loved the hustle and bustle and history-soaked atmosphere of London, it wasn't home, and she'd never quite gotten past feeling like a dispossessed expatriate while living there. She'd only gone in the first place because her aunt Fiona was there and, more importantly, because she'd needed to get Esme out of Father's range before he could screw up her daughter the way he'd screwed up her and Jared.

But as glad as she was to finally be home, the circumstances gave her no peace at all. Her father was dead. And not merely gone forever—which heaven knew would have been traumatic enough, given all her unresolved feelings for him—but murdered.

Damn him. Half the time he'd been such a bastard. Most of the time, really. But he'd still been her father, and no one deserved to die the way he had.

Yet, wasn't it just typical of him to go out in a blaze of notoriety? He'd never minded that for himself, with his increasingly younger wives and his cutthroat business practices. But when she or Jared made even a fraction of the waves Ford Evans Hamilton had, he'd given them no end of grief. The two of them had been expected to be good little Hamilton clones always, and there was a part of her that was steamed her father had died on her before she could unload just once her opinion of his parenting skills.

Which of course made her feel guilty, which in turn rendered her so twitchy she could barely sit still for more than twenty seconds running. So here she was, waiting for her lawyer to show up with a private eye in tow. Dear Lord. Whoever would have guessed she'd live to see the day The Maltese Falcon intersected the life of an Evans Hamilton? Old film noir images of men in fedoras who referred to women as dames and legs as gams kept flicking through her mind.

A bark of laughter that sounded dangerously close to hysteria escaped Victoria and she slapped a hand over her mouth to contain it. Carefully, she regulated her breathing.

Okay, let's try not to lose it here. She focused on a priceless piece of art showcased on one of the sitting room's pale yellow, watered-silk-covered walls. Just don't think about any of this too closely. Take it minute by minute, and let the details blur. And if that smacked suspiciously of The Ostrich School of Coping Skills, so be it. The only way she knew how to deal with this mess was one problem at a time. Anything else was too overwhelming.

The telephone rang and she started. Then, fed up with her raw, edgy nerves, she crossed to the small credenza and picked up the receiver. "Hamilton residence."

"Victoria, dear, is that you?"

The voice hiccuped in and out in the telltale manner of a cellular phone about to leave its service range, but she was pretty sure it was her lawyer's. "Robert? Is that you?"

His voice faded out.

"I'm sorry, I can barely hear you."

"Oh. Hold on." Then suddenly his voice came through with crystalline clarity. "There, I switched to a new channel. Is that any better?"


"I'm calling to let you know I won't be able to make our appointment with the Semper Fi investigator. I've been called into court. I apologize Victoria, but I want to assure you that I've talked extensively with Mr. Miglionni and everything is in order. To get him started, you merely need to meet with him, tell him about Jared and answer any questions he may have. You do have the number for my cell phone, don't you?"


"Excellent. If you think I might be able to answer any of the questions you can't, give me a call."

"I will. Thank—" the call abruptly disconnected "—you." She blew out a breath and set down the receiver. "O-kay. Looks like I'm on my own."

Nothing new there. She'd been on her own most of her life.

It was about time, however, to be a little less reactive and get a lot more proactive. God knew she owed Jared that much, since she'd always felt that by leaving she'd sacrificed him to save Esme.

She took a firm grip on her emotions and walked to the sitting-room desk where she forced herself to sit. She began sorting condolence cards into one stack that could be answered by her father's secretary and into another requiring a more personal touch. By the time she heard the doorbell ring a short while later, she felt far more composed. Heading for the front entry, she smiled back at the housekeeper when she heard the woman bustling down the hallway from the kitchen. "It's all right, Mary, I'll get it." Reaching the immense mahogany door, Victoria pulled it open.

Bright afternoon sunlight poured into the foyer, blinding her and backlighting the man standing on the brick steps. The only thing she could tell for sure was that he was tall and lean. Not that seeing his features was necessary in order to give him her best social smile— she'd attended far too many upscale girls' schools for manners not to be second nature by now. "Mr. Migli-onni?" she inquired softly. "Please, won't you come in?"

Stepping back to allow him entrance, she extended her hand. "I'm—"

"Tori," he acknowledged in a husky tone that feathered down her spine. Her hand remained suspended between them for a moment when he made no move to take it.

Then she dropped it to her side, but it was the use of her nickname that knit her eyebrows together. Only a few of her closest friends, Jared and Aunt Fiona ever called her that. Robert Rutherford must have somehow let it slip, however, so she smoothed her brow and gave the private investigator another polite curl of her lips. "Actually, I go by Victoria."

"Un-frigging-believable," he said hoarsely.

She didn't see why and surely the vulgarity wasn't necessary. Nevertheless, she needed this man's help if she were to have any chance of finding Jared, she reminded herself. She took refuge once more in the lessons learned from years of etiquette. "I'm sorry—what must you think of me to keep you standing on the doorstep. Please, do come in."

He stepped forward and bent to set something on the floor. The strong lines of a tanned throat flashed briefly into sharp focus and sunlight caught a sleek, black ponytail that unfurled over his shoulder with his movement. The thick rope of hair was so shiny it shimmered with blue highlights. Then he straightened and once again turned into an impenetrable shadow limned by the blinding sun…all except for the olive-skinned, long-fingered hand that he extended toward her. Just as she accepted the belatedly offered handshake, he took a forward step that rendered his features a bit less obscure.

And Victoria's stomach dropped with a sickening swoop. Flabbergasted, she stared up into the coal-black eyes of the one man she'd never thought to see again. She snatched her hand from his warm grasp. "Rocket?"

Hearing herself say the only name she'd ever known him by, realizing the consequences that his presence could have for her, a lifetime's worth of composure vanished. Oh, God, oh, God, this was the last thing she needed. She had to get him out of here. She had to get rid of him before—

He swung the door shut behind him and for the first time jumped sharply into focus, all wide shoulders, dark skin and flashing white teeth. She'd barely begun even the quickest of inventories, however, before he reached out to pull her into his arms for a quick, hard hug that lifted her Ferragamos clear up off the floor. Setting her back on her feet, he gripped her shoulders and stared down into her face.

Youhavetogo, youhavetogo, youhaveto—

"Damn, girl," he said, "it's good to see you again."

John couldn't seem to stop smiling. It wasn't often anything caught him by surprise, but when the door opened and he'd seen Tori standing on the other side, she could have knocked him on his butt with a nudge from one well-manicured fingertip. For an instant he hadn't been able to believe his eyes.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 84 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 84 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012


    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It combines romance with a good old-fashioned whodunnit that had me guessing until the end. I like the way Ms. Anderson really developed the side characters as well as the main characters. I definitely recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Couldn't put it down!

    Tori and Rocket are great. It just makes you wish that men like that were always around.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2004


    I have read all Susan Andersen's books, this is by far the best yet. I was so entranced with this one, I could not put it down, I was reading at work on my break, at lunch time, in the evenings before going to bed, when I went to the restroom, trying to get to the ending. I am anxiously awaiting a book about Jared and PeeJay. I am an avid reader and read most romantic suspense novels. Susan is one of my favorite authors as well as Rachel Gibson, Sandra Brown, Merline Lovelace, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Judith McNaught to name just a few.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2004

    Two Thumbs Up!

    Another winner from Anderson.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2004


    I have enjoyed many of Ms Andersons novels however this falls short to her usual quality. The story drags on and on... just when you think the action might pick up it falls flat! Definitely not worth the read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    quality romantic suspense thriller

    In Colorado Springs, Ford Hamilton thinks his two children from different women are major disappointments. His oldest Victoria got pregnant with some nameless fool and refused to abort; instead she raises her daughter Esme by herself. His teenage son Jared is an angry loser with a history of trouble with the law. Ford¿s feelings towards his offspring end when someone stabs him in his heart with his letter opener.---- The police believe that the missing Jared killed his father following a public brawl, but Victoria cannot believe her sensitive half-brother would harm anyone. She hires Semper Fi Investigations to find her missing sibling and to determine who killed their father. John ¿Rocket¿ Miglionni visits his firm¿s new client only to receive the shock of his life when he sees Tori. They met on vacation, but she left on an emergency and never returned honoring his wishes of just the moment between first names. John receives a greater shock when he meets his daughter five years old Esme. John wants in his child¿s life, but also realizes he needs her mother too, but first must solve the homicide and the disappearance, which both seem easier than persuading his Tori that they belong together.---- This exciting private investigation romance hooks readers the moment John sees his client and explodes when he meets his child. Though coincidence plays a minor role, the action-packed story line moves forward on two paths (the relationship between the two stars and the homicide- missing person inquiries) that eventually converge when the life of the lead female is in jeopardy. Readers will gain pleasure from this quality romantic suspense thriller.---- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    great read

    loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013


    Ive been ignored for what feels like forever

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 10, 2011


    This book was so sweet and romantic i loved how rocket actually wanted 2 be part of esmes life and how he came 2 care 4 tori esme and jared. Very very good book

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  • Posted August 6, 2009



    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2004

    An Excellent Read...

    I've probably read most all of the romance novelists out there -- old and new -- but I'd never read Andersen until last week when I purchased 'Hot and Bothered'. I'm so enthralled with the fast-moving, well-written dialogue that I haven't been able to put it down, and I've probably read it about 5 times already. I'm an aspiring romance author with a finished manuscript on the market, so whenever I'm in the mall, I'm most always looking to buy works by authors whose narrative vision I consider as swift and imaginative as my own. In browsing Waldenbooks 'Romance' section last week, 'Hot and Bothered' immediately grabbed my attention. After reading the book's synopsis, I was pretty much hooked. This is probably one of the best in the contemporary romance genre that I've read in quite sometime. I was so impressed with 'Hot and Bothered' that on the following day I procured 'Head over Heels'. I was a bit disappointed as 'Heels' had neither the snap nor the sharpness that 'Hot and Bothered' does. According to Andersen, 'Hot and Bothered' is her favorite book of all that she's written. Well, it's the first book of hers that I've ever read, and I can see why she likes it so much. From personal experience with a Special Forces military man similar to Andersen's 'Rocket' Miglionni, I assure you that his character is exact, from the dialogue to the physical attributes. 'Hot and Bothered' is exceptionally well-written, well-edited escapist reading. A well-told story with sizzling dialogue and main protagonists you just can't help but to love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2004

    A hot sexy fun read

    Hot & Bothered by Susan Andersen is another exceptional story. Victoria Hamilton is back in town after her fathers murder with her half brother on the run. She hires a PI agency and they send over their best man, John ¿Rocket¿ Migilionni. Seeing John again after their brief fling years ago sets Tori¿s world on edge. John is shocked to see his new client is the one woman he could not forget. After the initial shock of seeing Tori, he is again floored by their child.. John and Tori join forces to find her teenage brother and bring him home. They try to put the issues of their child and their intense attraction on hold. But things don¿t work out that way. John and Tori¿s attraction is still as strong and powerful as it was 6 years ago. I really enjoyed John and Tori¿s repartee, its fast, funny and filled with innuendoes. This book is a fun sexy read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2004

    Must Read

    I have read most of Susan Andersen's books but this is the one that kept me glued to my seat. The storyline was engaging and fun. More importantly though the characters were amazing and Susan Andersen really made me care about them and their struggles to find love. My only hope is that she is currently writing PJ and Jared's story because that is one I will buy the day it comes out. Truly a good book.

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    Posted June 6, 2013

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    Posted December 2, 2011

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    Posted August 10, 2010

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    Posted December 21, 2010

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    Posted January 14, 2010

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    Posted June 7, 2011

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