Read an Excerpt
Millionaire Cop & Mom-To-Be
By Charlotte Hughes
Harlequin EnterprisesCopyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises
All right reserved.
Chapter OneShe was sleeping beneath her wedding dress, a mountain of satin and crinoline and a mile-long train. Neil Logan shook his head sadly at the sight.
"Okay, Katie. Come out from under there, or I'm coming in after you."
The dress seemed to take on a life of its own, going into a slow bump-and-grind routine as the woman wormed her way out. A mane of blond hair appeared, framing a flushed, sleepy-eyed face. She peered up at the man in tight, faded jeans and matching jacket and groaned. "Oh, Lord, it's Satan. Go away."
"Beat it, Logan."
"... two ... three." He grasped two slender wrists and tugged.
Katie muttered a four-letter word as she struggled to free herself from his grasp, but it was useless. He pulled her from beneath the dress, exposing her backside to the chilly air in her bedroom. "Dammit, Neil!"
Neil arched his dark brows as he took in Katie's attire - a wispy bra and gossamer panties that exposed the small of her back and a perfect rump. He swallowed. What had happened to the six-year-old his parents had taken in after her mother died? Gone was the skinny little girl with braces and knobby knees. He gave a low whistle. "Nice butt, Miss Jones."
She shrieked, quickly sat on the floor and pulled the gown to her breasts. Her pretty featureswore a look of pure indignation. "Who do you think you are, barging into my bedroom like this, you ... you ..."
"Pervert? Hound from hell?" He crossed his arms over his broad chest and leaned against the wall, a glint of humor in his eyes. "What I'd like to know is, whatever happened to those shapeless flannel gowns and furry bunny-rabbit bedroom shoes you used to wear?"
He loomed over her - six feet, two inches of brawny male - wearing a grin that a girlfriend of hers claimed could melt a woman's bones. Katie suspected he used it to his advantage every chance he got. "How did you get into my house?" she demanded.
"Grabbed your key from beneath one of your flowerpots. How original, Katie. It's people like you who keep me in a job. Of course, I knocked and rang the doorbell first, but there was no answer."
"I suppose it never entered that thick skull of yours that I didn't wish to be bothered."
He lifted one corner of his mouth slightly. "Now you've gone and cut me to the quick, squirt, what with that razor-sharp tongue of yours."
"Don't start with me, Neil. I'm not in the mood. And don't call me squirt. I'm not a kid anymore. I'm twenty-nine years old, almost thirty." She knew she was being unkind, but what could people expect after what she'd been through? She had specifically told everybody she wanted to be alone, but the telephone hadn't stopped ringing in the twenty-four hours since she'd locked herself in her house and pulled the drapes closed. How like Neil to just barge into her bedroom as if he had every right. And try to get a free peek at what she wasn't wearing while he was at it.
Some things never changed. He was still a scoundrel. She pointed to the door. "Go!"
Neil stared at her, noting the mussed hair that brushed past her shoulders. The color reminded him of buttercups. And her glistening eyes - a brilliant emerald color that flashed when the light caught them just right. "Katie, Katie, Katie. Is that any way to talk to the man who was sent here to rescue you?"
"I don't need rescuing. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."
"Have you looked into a mirror lately? Your hair is all over the place, your mascara is smudged and your eyes are red and puffy. Why, you look worse than some of the women I've dated."
"That's scary, Neil."
He made a "tsking" sound, but Katie saw a look of pure amusement in his eyes. "And you've wrinkled your wedding dress that, no doubt, cost half my inheritance. I hope it'll keep me warm when I'm forced to live in my car."
She was in no mood for his teasing, which is what Neil did best when she found herself in a predicament. As sole heir of a magazine dynasty, he had about as much chance of living out of his car as a member of the Kennedy family. Nevertheless, she wanted to cry at the sight of her gown. Neil's mother had designed it, a dress fit for a queen, although Katie had thought it a little much for a commoner like herself. It had been showcased in Bride Magazine and the society column in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
Now the dress was an amorphous lump. Katie pulled it to her chin.
Neil dropped down beside her on one knee, resting his hands on the other one. His heavy-lidded gaze met hers. "You don't have to hide behind the dress, sweetheart. Sexy underwear doesn't turn me on. My tastes are more ... eclectic."
Katie could only imagine. "Gee, I'm sorry to hear that, Neil, but the lingerie store was out of whips and chains." He shot her another disarming grin. The man had no shame. He was a good seven years older than she, but one would never have guessed it. Mother Nature had been good to Neil Logan. He was lean and muscular, with a fine network of lines on either side of his eyes, barely noticeable beneath a deep-olive complexion. His hair was still dark, the color of Brazil nuts, without the first hint of gray, curling well past his collar. The thick stubble on his jaw was black as tar, giving him a dangerous look that appealed to women. And Neil had had his share of admirers. Katie had been thirteen years old when she'd developed a crush on him. But he hadn't noticed.
"Like what you see, Katie?" She felt a blush creep up her neck. Neil assumed every female, including her, couldn't take their eyes off him. Smug was his middle name. True, he was about as handsome as they came, in a rugged, tough-guy sort of way, but she preferred a more polished look. "Actually, I was just about to ask if you'd lost your razor."
"I shaved for your wedding. Just keeps growing right back."
"Sounds like a testosterone thing."
"I'm just oozing with it, baby. Besides, I can't afford to look too clean-cut. I'm on a case."
"Which side of the law are you working for this time?"
"I'm one of the good guys."
He didn't look like it with his clothes as ratty as something plucked from a rag bin. A direct contrast to his father, who wore Armani suits, carried a Gucci briefcase, and purchased a new Mercedes every two years. Father and son had never seen eye-to-eye. Neil had been groomed to take over the family magazine, but he'd shown absolutely no interest. Instead he'd become a cop. Obviously a good one, he'd made detective at thirty.
"I really need to be alone, Neil." Katie sniffed. "Oh, so you're going to turn this into a real pity party. Wish I had known. I could have brought cheap wine, dead flowers, and black helium balloons. We could have done it up right."
A single tear slipped down her cheek. She had tossed fitfully through the night, and what little sleep she'd had, had not deadened the raw hurt and humiliation she'd felt when Drew hadn't shown up at the church. She still remembered the looks of embarrassment and pity on her bridesmaids' faces, the sorrowful expression in Neil's mother's eyes. It had reminded her of another time - when her mother had died, and she'd had no one, not one single relative to claim the illegitimate orphan. Poor little Katie Jones, they'd all said. Well, she hadn't wanted anyone to feel sorry for her then, and she didn't want it now.
"I'm not having a pity party, as you call it," she replied. "I'm just trying to decide what to do. I've sold my house and put most of my belongings in storage. I have no place to go." She had screwed up royally, only this time she had more than herself to consider.
Excerpted from Millionaire Cop & Mom-To-Be by Charlotte Hughes Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.