Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

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by Kathleen O'Reilly

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Jessica Barnes has a one-way ticket to the career of her dreams as a corporate VP when Adam Taylor, the sexy consultant and chief hatchet man, arrives on the scene. Suddenly Jessica's not sure whether her job will get axed if a merger with a rogue company goes through. She wants to ignore the man who's turning her world upside down, but instead he's

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Jessica Barnes has a one-way ticket to the career of her dreams as a corporate VP when Adam Taylor, the sexy consultant and chief hatchet man, arrives on the scene. Suddenly Jessica's not sure whether her job will get axed if a merger with a rogue company goes through. She wants to ignore the man who's turning her world upside down, but instead he's turning her on….

Adam Taylor never expected to find his dream woman. And he certainly never expected her to be the fireball in the power suit, who's making him want her in as many positions as possible. But when they make a bet to keep their hands to themselves for ten whole days, Adam's not sure he can keep up his side of the bargain! Besides, what's one kiss? Unless it leads to a whole lot more…

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Bachelorette Pact , #967
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Pillow Talk

By Kathleen O'Reilly

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-69167-X

Chapter One

JESSICA BARNES studied the bride critically. Perfect. The warm, sparkling, spring afternoon was a rare thing in Chicago. White flowers covered the arbor, not one dead blossom in sight. The musicians hadn't missed a note. The slim branches from the weeping willow trees danced in the gentle breeze. Absolutely perfect.

Yup, there was nothing like seeing fairy-tale happiness to make you feel like crap. "Do you think she's put on weight since college?"

Safe on the far side of the garden, far away from the white, flower-strewn tent, the four friends shook their heads. It was a sad day for them all.

Mickey was the most practical. "It's the dress. All those ruffles. I don't know why women don't understand the illusion of substance that ruffles project." She shook her head and made a note in her PalmPilot.

Jessica considered her own well-stocked closet, completely ruffle-free. She didn't have the fashion sense of Dior, but she managed.

Beth sighed, her eyes still locked on the groom. A long, wistful sigh that she did so well. "He looks pretty good. Kenny never looked that good." Kenny was Beth's ex. An ex they'd never liked, but that was the sort of thing you didn't tell your friends. Subtle hints, yes. Life-damaging proclamations, no.

Cassandra, never one to confess weakness, studied her nails. Ten perfect ovals trimmed in Scarlet Nights. "He asked me out once, but I said 'no.' I was in my medical-students-only stage."

"Kenny asked you out?" Beth's wide blue eyes looked horrified.

Cassandra exhaled, her white sheath lifting gracefully. "No. Charles, the groom."

"She looks happy," Mickey put in, veering the subject away from No-Account Kenny.

Beth swallowed one bite of the wedding cake before licking the crumbs from her lip. "She's glowing."

That met with a long, jealous silence. They might as well just brand the lot of them with a scarlet L.

"Who needs love?" Cassandra asked, and then took a healthy drink of champagne.

Beth never took her eyes off the happy couple. "I do."

With a bit more violence than finesse, Jessica speared the olive in her drink. This was an argument they'd had many times. "No, Beth, you don't. You're a single woman with your independence, you can stay up as late as you want, let the laundry stack up, go to happy hour whenever you choose. What's not to love?" Just to prove her point, she swallowed the olive whole, a gesture her freshman-year fiance had abhorred. They had broken up soon after.

Beth defended herself. "Sometimes it's lonely."

"Get a cat," Mickey said.

Was a cat everyone's answer to life? Jessica just shook her head. "Oh, please, no. Aunt Charisse had ten cats when she died. They could not get the smell out of the carpet. Ever. Finally replaced the carpet, the padding, even deodorized the slab, and still they had to take ten K off the price."

Mickey raised her sunglasses and studied the bride once more. They'd all gone to college with Annie Summers, and now, six years after graduation, Annie was the first to get married. Second if you counted Beth's two-week marriage, but they usually didn't count Kenny. "I think white just isn't her color. She should have done something with a rose tone for her complexion, don't you think?"

"I heard they're going to the Caribbean for the honeymoon." Beth studied the hors d'oeuvre on the side table, finally settling for the curried shrimp.

"That's so cliché."

"I want to go to the Canadian Rockies on my honeymoon." Beth sounded as though she was reciting a Christmas list. Jessica wanted to shake her sometimes, tell her the world wasn't one big Disney movie, but she never did. Instead, they did their best to protect Beth from ever learning that Disney owned Miramax, too.

"Why don't you go by yourself?" Cassandra asked.

Beth froze, her blue eyes wide. "I could, couldn't I?"

Mickey shrugged. "Sure."

"I don't know. If I went now, where would I go on my honeymoon?" Beth sounded so certain. As if honeymoons were part of life's guarantees. Jessica was much more realistic. There were no guarantees, unless you did it yourself.

"What if you don't ever get married again?" Always the troublemaker, Cassandra wouldn't let it drop.

"Cassandra, don't scare the girl," Jessica said, working to avoid a scene.

"She doesn't need a man," Cassandra insisted.

Jessica just rolled her eyes at that. "Big words from a woman who always has a date on Saturday night."

After one regal sniff, Cassandra went on. "No, I'm serious. I could remain single for the rest of my life and be happy."

Mickey raised a hand, sans ring. "I could, too."

Beth stood firm. "Not me. I want to get married."

Jessica raised her glass. "To the solo state of mind. Junk food and chick flicks forever. A bachelorette pact, single forever."

Mickey and Cassandra clinked glasses. "Hear, hear."

By the look on her face, Beth knew she was defeated. After a long moment of silence, she joined in. "Screw 'em all."

Cassandra laughed, that throaty laugh she had perfected over the years. "Honey, life isn't long enough."

Sometimes marriage was overrated, but Jessica knew the truth. They had been single for so long that it was now easier to attack the institution of marriage than to face failure. Jessica hated failure.

"Marriage is nothing more than a woman's subjugation to a man's need for dominance. Ha. They try and dominate me, I'll pin the laser on them." Mickey worked at a research lab and had never yet met a man, or anyone for that matter, with a higher IQ.

Jessica speared another olive. "You know, there are some advantages to marriage. Actually, ever since the government tinkered with the tax structure, it doesn't cost as much as it used to. For instance, I would probably jump into the next tax bracket, assuming he's a white-collar professional; however, I'd get a credit of almost eight thousand. Not a great investment, but I suppose if he's willing to cook every now and then, it could be worth it." Jessica hated to cook.

"Or you could take all that money you'd put in extra taxes and buy your Porsche."

That earned a smile. Only 2.1 more years and then the Porsche would be hers. Unless she got the promotion to vice president at Hard-Wire Networks, a computer networking equipment manufacturer. Not likely, but possible. The raise would put her in Porsche-attainment status within nine months.


Excerpted from Pillow Talk by Kathleen O'Reilly Copyright © 2004 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Pillow Talk (Bachelorette Pact Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jessica Barnes and her best friends, Beth, Mickey, and Cassandra, make a bachelorette pact during the wedding of another girlfriend. They are jealous that they have not found Mr. Right yet. The pact let them feel a little better about it though. .................. Jessica works in financial for the company HardWire. HardWire may be bought out by JCN. It would all be up to Adam Taylor, a consultant brought in by JCN to report on HardWire's buy-out potential. Chances are great that Jessica will lose her job if the buy-out happens and all her dreams of someday becoming VP would go up in smoke. So no matter how hot Jessica believes Adam is, she must resist him at all costs. ..................... Adam only knows that he wants Jessica. It hurts to think of her as a person instead of an employee number since he was going to cut her job. How could she fall in love with the man who was going to have her laid off? Regardless, JCN did not need her department. What Adam needs to do is convince Jessica that she needs him more than she needs her dreams. ................... **** This one is light reading material. Perfect for vacations to the beach or the mountains. No danger lurking around any corners, just pure romance. What could be better? This is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. ****
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finance director Jessica Barnes knows her dreams of becoming a vice president has ended with the company take over by a larger corporation. In fact, she expects to become unemployed once the merger is complete. She currently suffers from sneezing fits as her nose goes wild when she is stressed and by the number of sneezes she must be stressed off the scale.

Consultant Adam Taylor is retained to insure a smooth friendly transition though downsizing is expected. Though Jessica and Adam are attracted to one another she treats him with disdain expecting him to ax her job. Soon they challenge each other with a contest of statistical trivia and who can win a foot race that lead to the pair dating though both agree this is the wrong time. That first date turns heated, but Adam stops the action. An irate Jessica bets Adam that he can't seduce her in ten days; he accepts but plans to lose as he wants more from the woman he loves as he dreams of Green Acres with her.

Though some of the squabbles and contests seem odd for two rational professionals to participate against one another, then again love makes for irrational behavior. The story line is fun to follow as the duo competes on every level (especially in the latter half of the tale when the sex scenes heat the sheets). Readers who want total escapism in their romance will enjoy PILLOW TALK, but this is no Hudson-Day squabble though it somewhat modernizes that classic battle.

Harriet Klausner