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Party Crashers

Party Crashers

4.2 18
by Stephanie Bond

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No invitation, no alibi...

Jolie Goodman is a perennial good girl-which is how she wound up selling shoes at Neiman Marcus during the holiday season: She walked out on her brokerage job because her boss asked her to do something unethical. Now she's trying to start her own brokerage firm in Atlanta at the worst possible time. Also pressing on her mind is the


No invitation, no alibi...

Jolie Goodman is a perennial good girl-which is how she wound up selling shoes at Neiman Marcus during the holiday season: She walked out on her brokerage job because her boss asked her to do something unethical. Now she's trying to start her own brokerage firm in Atlanta at the worst possible time. Also pressing on her mind is the fact that her boyfriend of the last few months is missing...along with her car. With problems piling on, she manages to make a new friend at work, but too late she realizes her gal pal Carlotta Wren is a serial party crasher-which is fun...at first. But no one's laughing when a body turns up at an upscale party they've crashed and they're the only people who aren't supposed to be there! Jolie vows she'll never crash another party...if she gets out of this mess alive.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Modern-day Cinderella Jolie Goodman isn't dressing up for the ball in Miu Miu shoes and an Ultrasuede jumpsuit "borrowed" from Neiman Marcus in order to find her prince-she's trying to discover who's behind the disappearance of her shady boyfriend. And instead of being hindered by two evil stepsisters, Jolie has two expert party crashers at her side, sneaking her into Atlanta's most exclusive affairs so that she can grill her boyfriend's upper-class pals. Jolie's prince eventually does appear, in the form of hunky media empire heir Beck Underwood, satisfying the book's "romantic suspense" label, but as Jolie stumbles from one near disaster to another, Bond (Kill the Competition, etc.) lays on the laughs with such enthusiasm that "comic suspense" might be a better description. The danger and hilarity stirred up by Jolie's amateur sleuthing play strongly off each other, leaving Beck looking like a monkey in the middle until the unlikely, syrupy denouement, which seems as tacked on and superfluous as a giant bow on an elegant Vera Wang gown. But Bond delivers a true catch-you-by-surprise plot twist that gives the story a good yank in the right direction and may even leave readers with a few devious thoughts on how to crash some parties of their own. Agent, Kimberly Whalen of Trident Media Group. (May) Forecast: A cover blurb from fellow romantic suspense author Susan Andersen, combined with national print advertising in Redbook and Romantic Times, should help this book sell an ample portion of its ambitious 350,000 printing. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Stephanie Bond Incorporated
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

Read an Excerpt

Party Crashers

Chapter One

"It's like, I can't decide between the Kate Spade slides and the Via Spiga T-straps, you know?"

Kneeling on the floor ofthe Neiman Marcus footwear department, Lenox Square, Atlanta, Georgia, Jolie Goodman peered at the tortured coed over a mountain of over-flowing shoe boxes. Jolie's knees were raw and carpet burned. Her arms twitched from relaying stacks of shoe boxes to and from the stockroom. Her fingers ached from tying laces and finagling straps to ease shoes onto malodorous feet. Yet her considerable discomfort was apparently minuscule in comparison to the momentous decision weighing on the young woman's mind.

Jolie reached into her sales arsenal and pulled out a persuasive smile. "Why don't you take both and decide when you get home? You can always return a pair later."

The woman's shoulders fell in relief. "You're right. I'll take them both. Oh, and the Prada flats, too."

Jolie nodded with approval, scooped up the boxes, and trotted to the checkout counter before the girl could change her mind. Michael Lane, a senior sales consultant, waited for a receipt to print. He eyed the three boxes in her hands with an arched brow. "You're catching on," he murmured. "You just might last after all."

Only through the holiday sales season, Jolie promised herself. Eighty-one more days, if one were counting. The salary and commissions would tide her over until the housing market picked up after the first of the year and she could resume building her real-estate business. She had hoped the experience would sharpen her sales skills ... She hadn't counted on the bonus ofraising her threshold for pain.

Michael ripped off the long sales receipt and handed it to his customer with an ingratiating smile. "Thank you for shopping at Neiman Marcus." As he turned toward Jolie, he said, "Don't forget about the sales meeting tomorrow morning at nine. I know you're not on until noon, but everyone is expected to be there."

Jolie groaned inwardly. She'd been planning to assemble a mailing to her former customers the next morning -- one day into her temporary job, and she was already neglecting her primary goal. She rang up the slightly enormous sale, swiped the young woman's credit card, then sent her on her way with a brimming Neiman Marcus shopping bag. The satisfaction over the big fat sale was short-lived, however, because she had to straighten and clear thirty-some boxes of discards before she could move on to the next customer.

Discards -- that was a laugh. The boxes held some of the most exquisite designer shoes available, each stuffed and wrapped with form-holding stays, some swathed in cloth bags, some with registration cards. In her previous unenlightened world, she hadn't known that people actually registered their footwear, but she had since learned that when consumers forked over hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes, they expected prestigious, if hollow, bonuses.

Jolie stooped, ignored the twinge in her lower back, and began repackaging the shoes. She reminded herself she should be thanking her lucky stars for landing this position. According to Michael, the shoe department ranked high in dollar sales per customer, and was always busy. She could do worse for a temporary job. While she repacked a pair of Anne Klein mules, she scanned the customers for the person who seemed most eager to be waited on. They were in the midst ofa Columbus Day sale, and the temperatures had begun to dip in earnest, so Atlantans were rushing to the mall in droves to replace their sandals with more substantial fare. And six-hundred-dollar faux crocodile stiletto-heeled boots would definitely keep the chill at bay.

Her gaze skitted over the after-five crowd, then caught on a familiar dark orange ball cap. Her heart stalled. Gary? The man stood several yards away, his profile obscured by other shoppers. In a split second, her mind rationalized it could be him -- he certainly had preferred shopping at the upscale stores in this mall. Her heart jumpstarted, thudding in her ears. What would she do first -- confront him or call the police? Kiss him or kill him?

Jolie craned for a better look just as the man turned. Her pulse spiked, then a fusion of disappointment and relief shot through her. It wasn't Gary. Again. She dropped her gaze and stared at the box in her hand until her vital signs recovered. She felt like a fool all over again, just like a month ago when she explained to a dubious officer that her boyfriend -- and her car -- had simply disappeared. But Gary drove a Mercedes -- why would he want her Mercury? In her mind, her car being stolen and Gary dropping out of sight were mutually exclusive. The uniformed man hadn't been nearly so magnanimous when he'd told her flat out that she'd been royally scammed.

Squashing the train of thought, she gave herself a mental shake -- she couldn't afford to be distracted, not now, when she needed to be on her sales game. She resumed scanning for ripe customers.

Her gaze landed on a tanned and rumpled sandy-haired man, strangely dressed in holey jeans and an expensive sport coat, hovering near a sleek blonde to whom Michael was showing a strappy shoe that Jolie hadn't yet memorized -- Stuart Weitzman? Stubbs and Wootton? Her head swam with trendy monikers. From the restless look on the man's rugged face, he was a salesman's worst enemy -- a "straggler," the person who accompanies the primary shopper and shifts from foot to foot until the shopper moves along. Interesting face or no, he wasn't useful to her.

Scan, scan -- stop. Jolie cringed.

Ten feet away, Sammy "Sold" Sanders, real-estate agent extraordinaire and Jolie's ex-boss, scrutinized a Manolo Blahnik bootie with laser blue eyes. Jolie's pulse hammered as she imagined the belly laugh that Sammy would enjoy when she discovered that her employee who had quit in a puffed-up huff over the questionable ethics of a deal had been reduced to selling shoes ...

Party Crashers. Copyright © by Stephanie Bond. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Stephanie Bond was five years deep into a corporate career in computer programming and pursuing an MBA at night when an instructor remarked she had a flair for writing and suggested she submit material to academic journals. But Stephanie was more interested in writing fiction-more specifically, romance and mystery novels. After writing in her spare time for two years, she sold her first manuscript, a romantic comedy, to Harlequin Books. After selling ten additional projects to two publishers, she left her corporate job to write fiction full-time. To-date, Stephanie has more than sixty published novels to her name, including the popular BODY MOVERS humorous mystery series. For more information, visit www.stephaniebond.com.

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Party Crashers 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
chippiechipperson More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Bond writes well. Her books are very enjoyable and hard to put down. Party Crashers will not disappoint you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great read by Stephanie Bond!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great start to the body movers series. I liked it alot it was mysterious and sexy and sweet. All the makings of a good book! If u liked it try BODY MOVERS the next in the series.
charisme2003 More than 1 year ago
Great book! If your wanting something to read on a night alone this is a book for that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book and story, but not quite as entertaining as some of Stephanie Bond's books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story. However, this is the first book I've read by this author and I was a little disappointed in the repetitiveness of certain phrases like "she wet her lips." These phrases were just unecessary filler that didn't add anything to the story and I tired of them quickly.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Realtor Jolie Goodman quit her job over her new boss demanding she do an unethical act in order to make a sale. Jolie temporarily sells shoes at the Nieman Marcus in Atlanta¿s Lenox Mall. There she meets Beck Underwood of Underwood Broadcasting, who needs socks and shoes having just returned from Central America. The duo is attracted to one another, but nothing comes of it not jus because she is working, but police Detective Salyers arrives to question Jolie about her missing boyfriend Gary Hagan, whose car was found in the Chattahoochee with a dead woman inside........................... The police suspect that Jolie abetted Gary in his escape though she denies involvement. As Detective Salyers searches for Gary, he quietly warns Jolie to watch herself as he is in danger and she might be. Meanwhile she runs into Beck at an event that she crashes and soon they begin to fall in love. However, after Gary, she has doubts about her taste in men besides which she is in danger from people who believe she has something of Gary¿s that they want at any cost........................... Though the police procedural-Gary subplot in many ways takes center stage and the conspiracy behind all this is overdone, the contemporary romance between Jolie and Beck is well written and cleverly interwoven with the case. The support cast adds depth especially those co-workers like the ultra-tall long necked professional party crasher who mentors the heroine in the arts of attending celebrity events for free. Fans will appreciate this mixing of humor and love within in a crime thriller while attending an advanced class in Party Crashing 301........................... Harriet Klausner