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Looking for Trouble

Looking for Trouble

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by Julie Leto

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An innocent looking for adventure. A bad boy trying to change his image. And a book of sensual invitations that will make them forget about everything but each other...

Rory Carmichael is finally free! Free from her suffocating small town, free to experience what the world has to offer...and free to experiment with all the sensual fantasies that


An innocent looking for adventure. A bad boy trying to change his image. And a book of sensual invitations that will make them forget about everything but each other...

Rory Carmichael is finally free! Free from her suffocating small town, free to experience what the world has to offer...and free to experiment with all the sensual fantasies that have been teasing her, tempting her, tormenting her at night. And when she discovers Sexcapades, a book of naughty but very nice scenarios created for lovers, she realizes she has exactly what she needs to turn all those fantasies into reality. Especially since her new landlord, sexy Alec Manning, looks as if he would be very nice to be naughty with....

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Publication date:
Harlequin Blaze Series , #92
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593 KB

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Looking For Trouble

By Julie Leto

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373790961

Chapter One

Rory Carmichael closed her eyes and tried to block the electric rush of excitement shooting through her bloodstream. By now she should have been accustomed to the tingle, the thrill, the unabashed seduction of learning a secret. The chance to find out something she shouldn't know enticed Rory's gaze away from the employment application in front of her to the enormous round table in the center of the Divine Events reception area.

And the book. The big red book.

What in those pages was so tempting? So irresistible? Every single person who'd crossed the glass-and-brass threshold of Divine Events hadn't been able to resist the allure. Rory had been in the eclectic, chic office of Chicago's up-and-coming leaders in the party-planning business for nearly thirty minutes, and in that time frame, at least four clients had wandered to the table and flipped open the book sitting beneath the floral arrangement. And unless Rory's imaginative and curious nature proved entirely overactive, they had each furtively torn out pages and stuffed them in pockets and purses.

Knowing she should be concentrating on filling out the employment papers that would soon make her a member of the Divine Events staff, Rory tried hard to tamp down her interest in the mysterious contents of the book.

So far, no luck.

A pretty blonde in blue jeans wandered nearer and nearer, seemingly just as drawn by the red leather-covered book. The grand flower arrangement beside it - a Grecian urn, overflowing with birds of paradise, hyacinth, hydrangea and greenery - should have been an overpowering focal point for the room. But as Rory sat at the receptionist's desk - the one she hoped would soon bear her nameplate - she couldn't miss how patron after patron ignored everything else - the wild flora, the crystal bowl of expensive chocolates and the stacks of photo albums chronicling the many successful parties, auctions and receptions planned and executed by Divine Events - in favor of the scarlet leather book.

Just what was in there?

"How's it going, Rory?"

Cecily Divine strode out of the kitchen behind her, a large mug of root beer clutched in one hand, a cell phone tucked against her ear, somewhere beneath her thick raven hair. One of three cousins who ran the business together, Cecily had immediately impressed Rory. She wanted to work for Cecily, learn from her and her two cousins, whom Rory had met briefly when she first arrived. Maybe she could pick up some tips on how to juggle a million things at one time. Heck, Rory would settle for learning how to ignore the book on the table, which neither Cecily nor her cousins seemed to notice any time they walked into the room, even when their clients seemed obsessed.

Cecily waved to the blonde near the reception table, who'd paused, frozen, her eyes wide and her hands still, as if peeking into the leather book constituted some sort of forbidden sin.

Rory sat up straighter, but still couldn't see a title, if the book had one. She swiveled to answer Cecily's question, but her would-be new boss had returned her attention to the phone. She watched Cecily maneuver the wrought-iron spiral staircase which led to the second floor offices, the acrylic heels of her thigh-high boots rapping music on the metal. The woman smiled down at Rory apologetically as she chatted with the client on the other end of the line.

Rory gave her a wave that meant, "Don't worry about me." She could fill out an application, particularly when the job promised to be the stuff of Rory's dreams. But she'd sure make more headway if she could sate her curiosity about that darned book.

The minute Cecily disappeared into her office, Rory heard the telltale rip of paper from the center of the room. The blonde had obviously succumbed to the same temptation as the other clients. Rory forced her gaze downward and managed to maintain her discretion for all of fifteen seconds. She really did have a problem with curiosity, though her great Aunt Lil called her affliction plain old nosiness. However, Rory knew her need-to-know tendencies kept her out of trouble more often than they lured her in. And of all the problems that had plagued the Carmichael women over the past two generations, a probing interest in other people's business was, comparatively speaking, a minor offense. And thanks to her intense curiosity, Rory knew the score of living on the edge, even if she never played the game herself.

She clutched the pen tighter in her hand. That was about to change.

When she looked up, the blonde had tucked the pilfered page into her handbag. Gia Divine, a statuesque brunette dressed in slim slacks and a cuffed button-down shirt, appeared on the balcony and beckoned her client up the stairs.

By the time Rory finished filling the application in with her new address, cell phone number, social security number and various other identifiers, Cecily had taken another important call - this one from the manager of a band she'd been trying for six weeks to book for a corporate shindig. She asked Rory to wait. Alone. In the lobby.

Rory tried to remain focused on acing her imminent interview, her final hurdle in her race toward gainful employment. But the stillness of the reception area, quiet except for the piped-in strains of jazz fusion floating over the air, forced Rory to revise that plan. First, she was going to find out what was in that book. Then, she'd complete the process for her job. Afterward, she'd head to State Street and give her wardrobe an update, even before she met her new landlord and moved into her apartment. If she intended to blend in with the chic surroundings, she'd need more than the T-shirts, jeans, conservative skirts and sweater sets she'd packed from home.

She grinned, satisfied with her plan. If there was one talent Rory was particularly proud of, it was her knack for compartmentalization and order. She set her priorities, then dealt with them one at a time - never needlessly worrying about one while she concentrated on the other. And right now, all she wanted was a peek at that book. And once Rory decided what she wanted, she rarely changed her mind.

Glancing at the switchboard on the desk, Rory verified that Cecily was still on the phone. In a dash, Rory scurried to the entrance. Seeing no one on the sidewalk who looked like they were coming inside, she hurried to the table and grabbed the scarlet book.

The leather cover revealed nothing. The book wasn't hardbound, but a large paperback, the size of a magazine and the thickness of an encyclopedia volume. The leather cover had been added afterward, apparently to cover the racy title, which Rory found by opening to the first page.

Sexcapades: Secret Games and Wild Adventures for Uninhibited Lovers.

Yum! Rory had heard about this book. In fact, she'd caught a quick glimpse of the publication while at a bridal shower, though she couldn't very well peruse it at her leisure since her Nanna had been sitting right next to her. Though twenty-five years old, Rory avoided any and all situations that made apparent her status as a mature, sensual woman - at least in front of her grandmother. Long before she'd hit puberty, she'd come to understand the importance of avoiding conflict or engendering distrust in this regard. She completely understood why her grandmother avoided any topic of a sexual nature around her granddaughter. She'd raised Rory's mother the best way she'd known how only to watch her become the school slut, get herself pregnant with twins at age sixteen, then abandon the babies three months later to run off with some old guy who eventually got her hooked on drugs until she overdosed. No wonder she was so strict with her granddaughters.


Excerpted from Looking For Trouble by Julie Leto 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.

Meet the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Elizabeth Leto started her career at Harlequin in 1998 and has since sold over twenty projects for the Signature, Blaze and Temptation lines. Lucky to win a few awards in her career, Julie rates the two she's received from the readers at eHarlequin.com as her favorites--"Steamiest Book of the Year" for her launch Blaze title, Exposed and "Most Passionate Pick" for her Temptation book, What's Your Pleasure? A Florida native, Julie lives in Tampa with her husband, daughter and a very spoiled dachshund and can often be found visiting with readers in Community. You can find out more about Julie, including information on the mainstream action-adventure novels she writes for Simon & Schuster, by visiting her web site.

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Looking for Trouble 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is good it kept me wanting to read more and more
Guest More than 1 year ago
Julie sets up the good girl/bad girl flip of the coin in a brilliant study of twins - women who are the same outside, but are polar opposites in life styles. A genius turn of the screw examination of women¿s inner desires. She is not afraid to rollerblade along that envelope and does so with the grace and deftness of a magician. When I picture Julie Elizabeth Leto in my mind (having seen her picture and been a big fan for a couple years of her steamy, sizzling books for Harlequin¿s Blaze series), I see her in a t-shirt with the words ¿Good Girl¿s Do¿ emblazoned across her chest and Steppenwolf¿s ¿Born to Be Wild¿ blaring in the background!! I don¿t think there is a writer anywhere that touches the cord of women long told that good girls don¿t, but knows secretly in their hearts and fantasy THEY DO!! She gives the reader an empowering okay to indulge in being the aggressor - not that the males she creates are wimps, quite the contrary - but Julie¿s newly liberated females push the envelope. Maureen O¿Hara said in THE QUITE MAN she was not a woman to be honked at and to come a running. Well, Julie picks up that banner and lets her characters wave it proudly! As you might've experienced, often the envelope gives paper-cuts, but what the heck¿they heal quickly! It's the challenge and the risk, that skating on the razor's edge, which makes her books so sexy and distances her from the pack of other Harlequin writers. She creates very down-to-earth females, flesh & blood women that jump off the pages and introduce themselves. Whether the bad girl who is sooooo GOOD or the nice girl cutting loose, Julie believes in GIRL POWER TO THE MAX! In her current book, LOOKING FOR TROUBLE, June 2003 Blaze #92 (and its sequel UP TO NO GOOD, August 2003 #100), Julie has the chance to use both the Bad Girl and Good Girl as the focus of both stories. Twins, they are raised by their grandmother, an overly repressive woman determined to see Rory and Micki not follow in their mother¿s footsteps. Mama was the ¿bad girl¿ of the small Southern town; hurt by this shame, strong-willed Nanna is determined to make sure her granddaughters remain ¿nice¿ girls. As often happens, the harder you try to prevent something, the more you drive that person to rebel, and that is what happens to Rory Carmichael¿s twin sister, Micki. She ran away from home when they were fifteen, leaving Rory to be the 'good girl'. Rory loves her grandmother, and willingly stepped into the 'good girl' mold to please her, but she is twenty-five now and she wants to have so fun in life. Rory knows cutting-loose from the nice girl image in the small town would be impossible, so she takes a stand and moves to the big city where she can be a little wild without poor Nanna having a heart attack. Rory might be out of sight, but not out of mind as Nanna is still trying to control her life. She arranges for Rory to get a new apartment with the son of her doctor, thinking this will keep her in a safe spot. Only, Nanna had not locked eyes with Dr. Alec Manning! Never been one to stand back from the invitation in a woman¿s eye, Alec is a to-die-for hunk. However, having lost his job because of an indiscretion with his Dean¿s wife, he has taken a vow of celibacy to prove to himself there is more to life than one woman after another. However, he did not count on Rory turning up to live under his roof. To kick off her new life, Rory tore two pages from a book called Sexcapades: Secret Games for Wild Adventures for Uninhibited Lovers. The book is housed where she gets her new job and it is 1001 exciting ideas to jazz up a steamy romance. Created so you cannot tell what the fantasies are beforehand, they are sealed in plastic and you're instructed to open them only when you are ready to put them to use. Rory's were called STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT and SLIPPERY WHEN WET. Determined to kick loose from that nice girl image, she cannot imagine a better target on which to hone h