The Real Deal

The Real Deal

4.1 33
by Debbi Rawlins
     
 

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Emily Carter is in Manhattan for a weeklong adventure—shopping, sightseeing and maybe, possibly, hopefully, sex. She's got a copy of Erotic New York and she's not afraid to use it….

Nick Corrigan finds Emily's naughty guidebook in their cab and hand-delivers it to her hotel. Enticingly anonymous for once, the sexy all-star pitcher is intrigued by

…  See more details below

Overview

Emily Carter is in Manhattan for a weeklong adventure—shopping, sightseeing and maybe, possibly, hopefully, sex. She's got a copy of Erotic New York and she's not afraid to use it….

Nick Corrigan finds Emily's naughty guidebook in their cab and hand-delivers it to her hotel. Enticingly anonymous for once, the sexy all-star pitcher is intrigued by the bossy, brainy out-of-towner.

Soon the unlikely pair is steaming up the windows of Nick's penthouse apartment. Could this be just a fun vacation fling…or the real thing?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426874574
Publisher:
Harlequin
Publication date:
11/01/2010
Series:
Harlequin Blaze Series , #573
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
293,535
File size:
528 KB

Read an Excerpt

"Oh, you're a blonde." Emily opened the front door wider and then relieved her sister of two of her shopping bags.

"Since yesterday. What do you think?"

"Very nice. You look like a natural."

"I know, right?" Pam swept past her, angling her head so she could catch her reflection in the grandfather clock that had graced the Carter foyer for three generations.

A gust of brisk autumn air rushed in, carrying two fallen yellow leaves. Emily ducked her head to make sure neither of her nieces were trailing behind, and then closed the door. Her sister was one of those people who seemed to fill a room, sucking out all the oxygen and squeezing out everyone else. Sometimes that included her children. Oh, it wasn't intentional and she never meant to be mean, that was simply the way of it.

"Although I did like your hair red, too," Emily offered, as she followed her older sister into the den, envying how her short gray pencil skirt showed off her long legs. Pam was tall and elegant, while their younger sister, Denise, was petite and way too adorable. Emily had ended up right smack in the middle, average in every way. Which wasn't a big deal. When she was younger, yeah. But not now, not at twenty-eight.

Pam snorted. "Auburn, not red. Where's Mom?"

"She's out back gathering the last of the roses from the greenhouse. What's in the bags?"

"Christmas presents."

"And you brought them here instead of taking them home because…?" Emily figured she knew the answer.

"So you could wrap them. No hurry." "Uh, yeah, with Thanksgiving still being three weeks away."

Ignoring Emily's sarcasm, Pam dumped the bags on the tan leather couch and then frowned at her watch. "I hope Denise isn't late. Mark and I have dinner reservations at the club tonight."

"Denise is coming, too?"

"Oh, didn't anyone tell you about getting together today?"

Sighing, Emily shook her head. Why would they? She was always here. She worked at home, spent her free time reading or cooking, only going out on a Saturday night when needed as a last-minute babysitter for her nieces and nephews. "What's going on?"

"We're going to discuss Thanksgiving dinner." Pam moved to the wet bar and helped herself to a martini. She set down the bottle of gin and critically eyed Emily's favorite baggy gray sweats. "I can't believe you still have those things." Her gaze moved to the fuzzy pink house slippers. "Oh, my God."

"What?" Emily glanced down. Okay, they had gotten pretty ratty over the years. "It's not like I'm out in public."

"But what if someone came to the door?" "Like who?"

"Like that cute UPS guy who delivers your manuscripts."

Emily sighed. Sad that he used to be the highlight of her week. Hell, of her life. She'd even broken down and started applying mascara when she knew he was coming. "They changed his route."

"Hmm. Who took his place?"

"A woman."

"Too bad. Your only prospect gone." Pam took a sip of her martini. "You really need to get out more."

"I like my life, thank you very much. By working at home, look how much money I save on clothes."

"Apparently."

Emily rolled her eyes. She loved her sister. She did, but Pam could be so irritating at times. "I think I heard a car door," she muttered and went to the window and watched their younger sister, looking smart in a mauve silk suit and impossibly high heels, bow her tawny head in deference to the wind as she hurried up the walkway.

"Denise?"

"Yep."

"Good. Go get Mom, will you, while I give Mark a quick ring."

Gladly. Then she'd be left in peace again. She heard the front door open as she trudged toward the kitchen at the back of the house. It was a joke, really. Discuss Thanksgiving dinner? She knew how that would go. Just like it always did. With her doing most of the cooking.

Before Emily got to the door, Laura Carter, the matriarch of the Carter clan, entered the kitchen with her gloved hands full of fragrant pink and yellow roses.

"Are the girls here?" she asked, using the back of her wrist to push the blond bob away from her face.

"Yes." Emily stretched on tiptoes to reach the crystal vase sitting on top of the antique oak hutch that had been passed down for five generations. "You didn't mention they were coming."

"Didn't I?" She smiled. "Sorry, honey. Fill that only half full, would you?"

Emily dutifully filled the vase to specification. "Pam and Mark have dinner reservations so she's kind of in a hurry."

"Well, she can wait a few extra minutes." She clipped the stems and then carefully arranged the roses to her satisfaction.

Emily leaned a hip against the counter and fondly watched her mother work. In a way, Emily was most like her. Definitely more Zen than either Pam or Denise, with a greater appreciation for long sentimental movies and heart-tugging books that kept them reading until three in the morning.

Conversely, Pam and Denise were more gregarious and ambitious, like their father. At least that's what Emily had gleaned over the years. She'd been eight when he'd died, and although she remembered him quite vividly, at least through the eyes of a child, she relied on her mother's memory for the nuances of his personality.

Her mother took a step back to admire her arrangement. "I should have brought in some greens."

"You realize the girls will start hollering for us any second."

"Frankly, I'm surprised they haven't started already," she said, unconcerned, and moved a pink rose to the other side of the vase.

Emily chuckled. She had to give her mother credit for gumption. The trace of a Southern accent that had survived living in Indiana for the past thirty years often misled the uninformed. Beneath her petite and genteel exterior, she was a tough cookie who generally knew what she wanted. Except when it came to men. Then she flaked out. Sad, really—it was if she was still chasing the great love she'd once had with Emily's father.

In that regard, Emily was nothing like her mother. Dating and men were a nonissue. Mostly due to lack of opportunity, but still, it wasn't as if she laid awake at night longing for that special someone, not even the UPS guy, as cute as he was. She'd always been a bookworm in high school and could count the dates she'd had on one hand. College hadn't produced any significant long-term romantic interludes. She'd made a couple of good male friends, but that was it. No matter, primarily she was content with her life. Really. She had her work and her books…though sometimes she missed sex. Her recent two-year dry spell was starting to get to her.

Briefly she thought about Marnie's email. Maybe next year she'd venture out. Consider taking a cruise or a guided tour of France and Italy. She had enough money saved. Sharing the family home with her mother had its financial advantage. Laura Carter did not do well living on her own, and after divorce number three, Emily had agreed to move back into the large brick colonial to help out with the mortgage and expenses.

Two years later, they still got along great, rarely stepping on each other's toes. Mainly, she suspected, because she spent so much time in her office and her mother was out and about most days. Ironically, or maybe tragically was more apt, at fifty-four, her mom had a more active social life than Emily did.

"I haven't got all night, you two." It was Pam yelling from the den. "Can we get on with this?"

Emily sighed. "Don't be shocked, but I actually agree with her. Let's get this over with."

"You have a point." She glanced at the clock. "I may still make it to bridge at Sheila's."

"Don't see why not," Emily muttered. "This shouldn't take long." Her mood had suddenly plummeted and she wasn't sure why. She didn't give a tinker's damn that everyone but her had someplace to go tonight. She truly didn't. Her irritation had more to do with how she knew the so-called family discussion would inevitably play out.

Oblivious to Emily's crankiness, her mother led the way into the den, heading straight for the wet bar. Pam and Denise were sitting on the leather sofa, sipping their cocktails. Emily claimed the matching recliner and watched her mother pour herself a glass of white wine.

"I'll have one of those, if you don't mind," Emily said, aware that everyone turned to stare at her. She rarely drank, generally on a holiday or a special occasion, but that was it.

Sliding her feet out from the pink house slippers, she drew her legs up and curled them under her bottom, feeling a tad better just because she'd surprised them. Silly, but there it was.

Pam eyed the slippers with disdain. "I guess we know what you'll be asking Santa for this Christmas."

"A new sister?" Emily said sweetly.

Denise burst out laughing.

"Be nice, girls." Their mother shook her head with mock disapproval and passed Emily the glass of wine.

Pam snorted, finished her drink and checked the time. "I know this is tradition and all, but honestly, we should've just done this on the phone. I assume Thanksgiving dinner will be at four," she said, glancing at everyone and then promptly continuing, apparently requiring no agreement. "This year I'll be in charge of drinks for the adults and kids, and there's a fabulous new bakery around the corner from my office that's taking orders for dinner rolls and pies, so I'll take care of that, as well."

"Store-bought pies and rolls?" Denise gaped.

"Seriously?"

"Look, most of the time everyone is too stuffed for dessert, and shouldn't we give Emily a break? Unless you're planning on making the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and yam casserole?"

Denise flushed and slid Emily an apologetic look. "I figured I'd bring the salad, cranberry sauce and nuts as usual. We'll be arriving home that morning after skiing in Vail so I won't have time to actually cook."

Pam raised her brows at their mother. "You'll take care of the peas and pearl onions?"

"I'll be gone overnight to Chicago myself. I promised Carla I'd go shopping with her before the Christmas rush. But I think I can handle the peas and onion dish. I know how much Mark looks forward to it."

"How fun. Chicago will be perfect. I bet the city will have decorated for Christmas by then," Pam said, and went on to describe the surprise she had for her husband.

With growing frustration, Emily listened to them discuss their respective plans for shopping and visiting friends and skiing. Firmly reminding herself that this was as much her fault as it was theirs didn't seem to help. No one had bothered to ask her what she wanted to contribute or even if she felt like tackling the epic meal. They assumed she'd be in charge, just like they did every holiday. It was a task to which she herself had always acquiesced without complaint.

She quietly cleared her throat. "I won't be here."

Pam and Denise abruptly looked at her, eyes wide with disbelief.

Their mother, who was in the middle of relating an anecdote about her last Chicago shopping trip, stopped talking. Obviously she hadn't heard Emily. Looking confused, her gaze skipped to each of her daughters.

"What?"

"Repeat that," Pam ordered.

"I won't be here for Thanksgiving." Just saying the words scared the living daylights out at her, but too bad.

She'd had it.

"You're kidding." Denise frowned. "Where else would

"Oh, you're a blonde." Emily opened the front door wider and then relieved her sister of two of her shopping bags.

"Since yesterday. What do you think?"

"Very nice. You look like a natural."

"I know, right?" Pam swept past her, angling her head so she could catch her reflection in the grandfather clock that had graced the Carter foyer for three generations.

A gust of brisk autumn air rushed in, carrying two fallen yellow leaves. Emily ducked her head to make sure neither of her nieces were trailing behind, and then closed the door. Her sister was one of those people who seemed to fill a room, sucking out all the oxygen and squeezing out everyone else. Sometimes that included her children. Oh, it wasn't intentional and she never meant to be mean, that was simply the way of it.

"Although I did like your hair red, too," Emily offered, as she followed her older sister into the den, envying how her short gray pencil skirt showed off her long legs. Pam was tall and elegant, while their younger sister, Denise, was petite and way too adorable. Emily had ended up right smack in the middle, average in every way. Which wasn't a big deal. When she was younger, yeah. But not now, not at twenty-eight.

Pam snorted. "Auburn, not red. Where's Mom?"

"She's out back gathering the last of the roses from the greenhouse. What's in the bags?"

"Christmas presents."

"And you brought them here instead of taking them home because…?" Emily figured she knew the answer.

"So you could wrap them. No hurry." "Uh, yeah, with Thanksgiving still being three weeks away."

Ignoring Emily's sarcasm, Pam dumped the bags on the tan leather couch and then frowned at her watch. "I hope Denise isn't late. Mark and I have dinner reservations at the club tonight."

"Denise is coming, too?"

"Oh, didn't anyone tell you about getting together today?"

Sighing, Emily shook her head. Why would they? She was always here. She worked at home, spent her free time reading or cooking, only going out on a Saturday night when needed as a last-minute babysitter for her nieces and nephews. "What's going on?"

"We're going to discuss Thanksgiving dinner." Pam moved to the wet bar and helped herself to a martini. She set down the bottle of gin and critically eyed Emily's favorite baggy gray sweats. "I can't believe you still have those things." Her gaze moved to the fuzzy pink house slippers. "Oh, my God."

"What?" Emily glanced down. Okay, they had gotten pretty ratty over the years. "It's not like I'm out in public."

"But what if someone came to the door?" "Like who?"

"Like that cute UPS guy who delivers your manuscripts."

Emily sighed. Sad that he used to be the highlight of her week. Hell, of her life. She'd even broken down and started applying mascara when she knew he was coming. "They changed his route."

"Hmm. Who took his place?"

"A woman."

"Too bad. Your only prospect gone." Pam took a sip of her martini. "You really need to get out more."

"I like my life, thank you very much. By working at home, look how much money I save on clothes."

"Apparently."

Emily rolled her eyes. She loved her sister. She did, but Pam could be so irritating at times. "I think I heard a car door," she muttered and went to the window and watched their younger sister, looking smart in a mauve silk suit and impossibly high heels, bow her tawny head in deference to the wind as she hurried up the walkway.

"Denise?"

"Yep."

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Meet the Author



Debbi Rawlins currently lives with her husband in Las Vegas, Nevada. A native of Hawaii, she married on Maui and has since lived in Cincinnati, Chicago, Tulsa, Houston, Detroit, and Durham, North Carolina during the past 20 years.

Now that she's had enough of the gypsy life, it'll take a crane, a bulldozer, and a forklift to get her out of her new home. Not that her friends would let her leave Las Vegas even if she wanted to. Debbi's home has become a retreat for writers from both coasts and her guest rooms are rarely empty. In fact, one friend visited with her three cats over a year ago and hasn't left yet!

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Real Deal 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfectly written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great story line....loved the balance
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This is a book that I couldn't put down! So romantic, yet, so full of life! I would recommend you purchasing this!
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Could use more character development
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