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Overview

Helen Rhodes is ready to take on upstart Luke DeVries and his trendy new coffee place, Hot Zone. So what if Hot Zone offers steaming java, even steamier hot tubs and a sizzling massage or two for customers? Helen's Cybercafé is the coolest thing in this quirky Chicago neighborhood, and she plans to keep it that way!

Luke is intrigued—and very aroused—by his sizzling blond business rival. He just wants to make peace with Helen, make her cappuccinos every morning...and make love ...

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Hot Zone (Chicago Heat)

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Overview

Helen Rhodes is ready to take on upstart Luke DeVries and his trendy new coffee place, Hot Zone. So what if Hot Zone offers steaming java, even steamier hot tubs and a sizzling massage or two for customers? Helen's Cybercafé is the coolest thing in this quirky Chicago neighborhood, and she plans to keep it that way!

Luke is intrigued—and very aroused—by his sizzling blond business rival. He just wants to make peace with Helen, make her cappuccinos every morning...and make love to her every night. Simple? Not exactly. Much more than java is heating up between these two people. It's very tasty...very addictive. And neither is calling it quits!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426877841
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/20/2010
  • Series: Harlequin Blaze Series , #95
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,201,707
  • File size: 403 KB

Meet the Author




Having finished her work in her third-grade class, Patricia started reading the book she'd just taken out of the library--Double Date. Noting this was a "Senior" book (meaning for seventh- and eighth-graders), a very suspicious Sister Mary Ursula confiscated it. The nun returned the book the next morning with the suggestion that Patricia confine her reading to history. An independent thinker even then, Patricia continued reading young-adult romances.

At 12, baby-sitting for one of her mother's friends, Patricia picked up a women's magazine and found the first installment of Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt. Enthralled, she asked to borrow the rest of the magazines so she could finish the serialized novel. She was instantly hooked on gothics, the precursor to the romantic suspense that she herself writes today.

Writing was always a part of her life. At 15, she took a part-time job with a local newspaper answering phones and taking ads. She convinced the owner to let her rewrite the wedding announcements. Her talent with words duly noted, the owner hired her as the youngest stringer ever to work for the paper.

At 16, she was reporting on the city council meetings in her suburb and creating controversy that kept the editor's phone ringing. That summer, she took over the sports section when the sports editor went on vacation.

Unable to afford the journalism program at Northwestern University, Patricia settled on being a commuter student at the University of Illinois and earning a degree in American literature. There, she also discovered that she was seduced by images as well as words. After obtaining a master's degree in television production, she worked in educational media.

But that love of fiction never died. During the big surge of romances hitting the shelves in the late '70s, she realized she wanted to write romances herself. She tried, gave up...and a few years later tried again. She gave herself a deadline--one year to get published or forget it.

This happened to be the first year of her marriage, and she was still working a full-time job. Luckily, she'd married "the most supportive man in the world." And even more luckily, she sold a young-adult romance at the 13th hour. Actually, in the 11th month of that year she'd given herself.

How did it happen? She won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for Best Young Adult Manuscript. Of course she wasn't at the conference to learn of this. A friend called the next day. And mysteriously, a few weeks later, she received a Golden Heart in the mail with no letter, no official notification of her win. But that seemed to be the norm for her writing career at that point. The same friend who had called her also said the editor who'd read her manuscript for the contest was saying that she was "her" author and "her" new book.

So Patricia waited...and waited for a phone call from the editor. Three weeks later, the editor called and asked if she had ever made an offer. Patricia said no. The editor said she hoped Patricia would accept her offer, because the book was already in production.

Patricia's writing career was on its way. Many books and years later, she's still at it.

Research is an integral part of Patricia's writing process. Recently she and her husband spent some time on a working cattle ranch in New Mexico to get the authentic details that she feels brings a story to life. Travel for research is the best part of the deal as far as she is concerned, especially if it involves animals. For some of her books, she swam with dolphins, photographed wild mustangs, and howled with wolves.

Her advice to new writers: "Find the passion in your story that goes beyond the romance." Patricia shares her own passion for writing with her office mates, Peach, Phantom and Dreamer (her cats), and encourages her students to find theirs at Columbia College in Chicago, where she teaches a couple of credit courses each year, including Writing the Suspense Thriller and Writing Popular Fiction.
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Read an Excerpt

Hot Zone


By Patricia Rosemoor

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. All right reserved. ISBN: 0-373-79099-6

Chapter One

"We don't want you here ... so go away ... and don't come back some other day!"

Helen Rhodes led the cheer and the march in front of the pale green tile facade of the building,
which had recently been restored to its former glory. Several other small business owners and a
handful of neighbors were picketing with her - all of them concerned the neighborhood's flavor
would be ruined by a big flashy establishment like this one promised to be. The old Polish Baths
had been closed down for years and - unless she stopped it from happening - would be
reincarnated into Hot Zone, a superthemed coffee-house and singles meet-and-greet venue that
would put her out of business in short order.

"If you ask me," her friend Annie said over the rumble of the rapid transit train passing nearby,
"Helen's Cybercafé is so solid - and so different from this place - it can stand on its own."
The expression in the gray eyes behind the frameless glasses looked utterly sincere.

"From your lips," Helen mumbled. But having given up so much in the way of financial security
to be her own boss, she wasn't mollified. "Combining coffee with relaxing massages and sexy
hot tubs - how brilliant is that?"

"That it is," Annie admitted, "but while Luke DeVries will givethem a place to relax, you'll give
them a place to work. Different strokes and all that. Just like you and me."

Grinning down at Annie, Helen hugged her friend and affectionately yanked her ponytail.
Despite the August heat wave that had rivulets of sweat running down her own back, Annie was
hiding in black leggings and an oversize cotton T-shirt. Nothing at all like her own magenta calf- length pants and orange top, cropped to show off the time she spent in the gym.

"You and I might get along with our shops side by side, but we're friends and we don't have
competing businesses," Helen observed.

"Well, then ..." Annie said, then raised her voice to shout, "We don't want you here ... so go
away ... and don't come back some other day!"

She was nothing if not loyal, Helen thought, joining the chant.

As sweat-drenched workers went in and out of the building, they glared at the people in the
picket line.

The eclectic group was representative of a neighborhood in transition, but at this point the
businesses were all small and privately owned, and everyone was afraid of having that balance
upset. Part of a national chain, this Hot Zone threatened them all. The nearby six-corner area
where Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues intersected and Wicker Park and Bucktown
bumped up against each other boasted intimate restaurants, a performance and dance club that
was building a name, boutiques that sold funky clothing and accessories, and unique stores that
carried comic books and horror memorabilia. The most conservative of the picketers wore
business gear - jacket off, tie loosened - the least conservative wore more jewelry than
actual clothing.

Whatever the workers thought of the mix, not one of them said a word.

"You would think someone would object, would try to get us to disperse."

"So Nick can get it on video," Annie said knowingly.

Helen was aware that Annie didn't really want to be here - her friend had been on the
receiving end of a picket line when she'd first opened her risqué shop,

Annie's Attic, now possibly the most popular nonfranchised lingerie store in the city. But Annie
Wilder and Nick Novak had been her best buddies since college days, so they were both here
for her.

Helen looked toward the man behind the camera at the curb and he grinned at her, then gave
her a thumbs-up. Nick used to shoot news clips for a local station. And though he now owned
his own fledgling video business, she figured with his old contacts, he might be able to get them
on tonight's broadcast, assuming it was a slow news night.

Assuming anything interesting ever happened ... like the money-grubbing owner coming
out of the building to face her!

"Luke DeVries is a coward," she muttered, then realized she was addressing the air - Annie
had fallen back to talk to Nick.

Starting up the chant once more, Helen shifted the Just Cool It, Hot Zone sign she was carrying
to a more comfortable position.

"That getting too heavy?" came a low-timbered voice.

"A little," she said, turning to face the man who was now marching alongside her.

For a moment, Helen felt stunned by the dark-eyed hunk who'd taken Annie's place. Spiked
gold-tipped brown hair topped a broad forehead, high cheekbones and a strong chin. When he
smiled at her, his left cheek was licked by a sexy dimple.

And Helen nearly dropped her sign.

"Can I carry that for a while?" he asked.

"Uh, sure."

As he wrapped his hand around the wooden pole, his fingers grazed hers. Helen gasped, then
covered with a cough.

"Summer cold?"

"Allergies. Chicago summers are a bear to get through."

"I've heard that."

"You're not from around here," she guessed, both from his comment and a hint of southern
accent.

"I am now. Beautiful city. Even more beautiful women."

He was staring at her in a way that heated her blood.

"Do you live close by?" Helen asked. It was nearly noon, and plenty of people were out for
lunch, which was the reason she'd chosen this time to stage her protest. She realized he could
be taking a lunch break, so she added, "Or is your office in the neighborhood?"

"Yes. And yes. So why are we picketing?"

"Because whenever a Hot Zone pops up in a new neighborhood, similar businesses get killed."

"Killed? Isn't that overly dramatic."

Helen sighed. He wasn't the first to accuse her of blowing things out of proportion. "Well, fail,
then."

"But that's competition, the nature of business."

"If you had your own business -"

"I do. And I think as long as a man runs his business ethically -"

"Well, Luke DeVries doesn't. He's a shark in man's clothing."

He arched a brow at her, triggering her pulse. His face was all planes and angles, cover-model
handsome. No man should be this good-looking, Helen thought. Or have such long eyelashes.
Thinking maybe he was a model ... or gay ... she squinted at him to make sure the lashes weren't
enhanced by additions or mascara. Nope, real.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Hot Zone by Patricia Rosemoor
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.

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