Record Timeby Beverly Brandt
Kylie Rogers can't stand dull parties and the self-centered men who frequent them. Now that the crashing bore who cornered her has gone to get a drink, there's only one way out--a first floor window. Too bad her handsome host just happened to see her hike up her skirt, throw a very shapely leg over the windowsill...and fall into a hedge. Being rescued by Gamble
Kylie Rogers can't stand dull parties and the self-centered men who frequent them. Now that the crashing bore who cornered her has gone to get a drink, there's only one way out--a first floor window. Too bad her handsome host just happened to see her hike up her skirt, throw a very shapely leg over the windowsill...and fall into a hedge. Being rescued by Gamble Records owner David Gamble may be the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to Kylie. And his impromptu kiss may be the most thrilling...
Music mogul David Gamble figured he'd never see the beautiful woman he pulled out of his shrubbery, so what was the harm if he kissed her? When he discovers that Kylie is a new employee working for his company, he's shocked--and secretly delighted--even if he can't quite admit it yet. David's orderly world turns upside down with disaster-magnet Kylie spreading chaos and skewed publicity in her wake. But when someone sets out to sabotage Gamble Records, David joins forces with Kylie to catch the culprit as they find themselves falling in love in record time...
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By Beverly Brandt
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2002 Beverly Brandt
All rights reserved.
She was trapped.
He had her cornered between the ten-foot-high potted silk fig tree — which looked surprisingly real, she noticed, glancing to her left for a means of escape — and the wall to her right. The only way out was through him and, considering he was at least six inches taller and sixty pounds heavier than she, that wasn't much of an option.
Defeated, Kylie Rogers pasted an interested look on her face and prepared to spend the evening listening to Bradley Nelson pour out his version of "My Life as an Up-and-Coming Country Music Star." She supposed this was her curse for having a sister who was a famous singer. Every rock, country, jazz, or rap music star–wanna-be who couldn't get an audience with Robyn Rogers latched on to Kylie instead.
"... and when I was ten, my dad took me on vacation to Nashville. That's when I knew what my destiny was," Bradley expounded with all the sincerity of a televangelist.
Kylie felt her left foot beginning to cramp and wiggled her toes, silently cursing the inventor of high-heeled shoes. Taking a sip of wine, she watched a drop of condensation roll down the stem and drip onto the hardwood floor. Someone had opened the French doors to the cool night air, but the room inside was warm from the crush of bodies. Kylie wondered what the neighbors thought of the loud music blasting through the stillness of their exclusive Seattle suburb as she waited patiently for her chance to escape.
"... at twelve, I got my big break — the church talent contest," Bradley droned on.
Tuning out his monologue, Kylie studied the man in front of her. Bradley Nelson could be considered handsome, with his tall, lanky frame, sandy brown hair, and dark eyes. Tonight, he was wearing the standard all-black uniform of the country music crowd: black jeans with a button-down shirt, a belt with a silver belt buckle shaped like the state of Texas, and a fascinating pair of snakeskin cowboy boots. Kylie was beginning to think those cowboy boots were, unfortunately, the most interesting thing about Bradley Nelson. She should have known she'd spend the entire evening at music mogul David Gamble's lakeside home fending off her sister's castoffs. If she hadn't had her own reason for attending the party, she would have begged off. As it was, she wasn't accomplishing much, trapped here in the corner by Bradley Nelson as she searched the crowd for Robyn's telltale platinum blond head.
"I got a letter from Willie Nelson when I was thirteen and, shucks, that's when I really knew that music was my calling," Bradley drawled, interrupting her perusal of the crowd.
Kylie slid a glance at her watch. Mickey's big hand was on the nine and his little hand was on the twelve. She figured that at this rate, Bradley wouldn't get past puberty till long after midnight. Desperate measures would need to be taken. Surreptitiously, she slid her arm behind her back and watered the fake fig tree with her Chardonnay.
"Boy, I sure could use a drink. Would you mind getting me another while I freshen up?" Widening her eyes innocently, Kylie held out her empty wineglass.
"Uh, sure." Bradley glanced over his shoulder at the huge crowd at the bar. "I'll be right back," he promised.
"Great." Kylie smiled, waiting until his back was turned to make her move. Her short blue skirt swirled around her legs as she bolted from her prison in the corner.
"I knew we should have taken separate cars," she muttered, once again searching the loud throng of people for her sister. Robyn loved these overcrowded, raucous parties where she was usually at the center of attention. Kylie herself didn't mind them as long as she had a reason to be there. She'd thought tonight's party would give her a chance to meet some new people, maybe even talk to David Gamble about donating some money to her pet charity, the EmCee Foundation. Unfortunately, the elusive Mr. Gamble had disappeared shortly after she and Robyn arrived, just as she was being cornered by Bradley Nelson.
So, rather than spending the evening trying to solicit donations for a worthy cause, she was stuck listening to yet another aspiring musician's life story. It was her curse for being born into a family of entertainers, she supposed, but at times it got to be a bit tiring.
Taking her melancholy mood down a deserted hallway, Kylie searched out the peace of a powder room. Trailing her fingers along the dark patterned wallpaper, she thought about the home's owner. Even before she'd moved to Seattle two months ago, she'd known about David Gamble, founder and president of Gamble Records. He was one of Fortune magazine's top-forty under forty; one of the nation's young, wealthy bachelors who had started his climb to success with a small, independent record company that he'd built into a multibillion-dollar empire by leveraging the power of the Internet.
According to one of the articles she'd read, Gamble.com had been one of the first successful e-tailers. They'd started off as nothing more than an Internet record store, allowing Gamble Records to become their own distributor rather than having to rely on the national chains, who took so much of a small record label's profits. Their success would have probably ended there, making David and his employees moderately wealthy, but, in a move cited as nothing short of prophetic, he had pushed technology even further.
In a television interview Kylie had seen recently, David Gamble had asked, "Why should consumers have to wait four days, or even one day, for music to be delivered to their homes when the technology exists for them to download it right off the Internet today? And why should you have to buy an entire CD if all you want are two or three of your favorite songs? Just think," he'd said, looking into the camera with his intense, midnight-blue eyes, "no longer will you be at the mercy of record company executives forcing you to buy music you don't want. This technology is good for consumers, and it's also good for the artists, who will receive a larger cut of the profits for the songs they record."
Of course, it had also been good for David Gamble, Kylie thought as she pushed open the door to a cavernous bathroom. He'd become an overnight billionaire with an Internet site that was now a household name.
There was no doubt in her mind that he could afford this mansion in one of the best neighborhoods in Washington State, but Kylie shuddered as she looked around the oversize room. It was done in stark contrasts: all black except for the glaring white fixtures. The floor was tiled in black marble and the walls were papered with some kind of textured material. Kylie rubbed a hand across the surface and decided it felt like bamboo. Unable to stop herself, she peered around a glass block wall into the shower area. As she had suspected, it was spotlessly clean — not even a half-used bar of soap to mar the pristine perfection of the place. She resisted the urge to open the cupboard under the sink, feeling she'd already pushed the line between innocent curiosity and outright snooping too far.
"It's so impersonal," she said, looking around the room again, trying to imagine David Gamble here. She had yet to meet him in person, but had seen him in interviews so often, she had no trouble conjuring up his image. Unfortunately, her active imagination conjured him stepping out of the shower, droplets of warm water falling from his naked, tanned body onto the cold marble as he reached for a towel. All at once, the room didn't appear quite so impersonal, and the temperature seemed to have increased a few degrees.
Kylie glanced in the mirror above the sink. Almost involuntarily, she raised a hand, touching her cheek. Instead of feeling the smoothness of her own skin under her fingertips, she imagined that she could feel the roughness of David's beard just before he shaved, the crisp stubble gently abrading as her fingers moved toward his firm chin. As her fingers reached the end of her own, softer chin, she dropped her hand and laughed guiltily.
Robyn was right. She needed to get out more if just being in David Gamble's bathroom was enough to set her pulse racing.
Kylie exhaled a deep breath and pulled a bright red lipstick out of the tiny purse draped across her shoulder. She smoothed a fresh line of color across her lips and ran her tongue across her teeth to make sure none of her lipstick had ended up there. Shaking off the last of her images of the elusive Mr. Gamble, Kylie flipped her head upside down, fluffing her shoulder-length brown hair. Feeling her skirt ride up in the back, she moved her hands to the bottom of the gauzy blue material only to find that she was about two inches from showing off more than she ever wanted revealed in public.
"Note to self: Never do that outside of closed doors," she said with a smile into the empty room.
Flipping her head back up, she figured she'd given Bradley enough time to get tired of waiting for her. Blowing an errant curl out of her eyes, she opened the door and headed down the darkened hall, the clicking of her high heels silenced by the richly colored rug running down the center of the hardwood floor.
"I'll just find Robyn and tell her I'm ready to go," Kylie murmured, inching closer to the high-ceilinged, cream-and-brown-toned living room and peering cautiously inside. She spotted her sister across the room, holding court with two of Gamble Records' top artists and several of the city's most popular deejays. Although she hadn't thought it possible, the immense living room seemed more crammed with partygoers than when she'd left. Smoke hovered over the room like a rain cloud. The music had been turned up to a tooth-rattling level and people raised their voices to be heard over the din. By all counts, Gamble Records could chalk this party up as a huge success.
Leaning against the wall, Kylie wondered where David was. She had spotted him briefly when they'd arrived two hours ago, but he'd disappeared with a beautiful brunette before she could extricate herself from the corner with Bradley Nelson. Kylie wondered if he were having a party of a more intimate nature with Lisanne O'Neill, Gamble Records' newest star and, it was rumored, David Gamble's most recent conquest.
"Lucky girl." Kylie sighed, gazing over the crowd for a glimpse of her host's dark hair and dazzling blue eyes. Chatting up their handsome host would sure beat hiding out in the hallway, hoping to escape further conversation with Bradley.
A flash of movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention. It was Bradley, and he hadn't yet latched on to some other poor unsuspecting victim. Kylie looked from Bradley to her sister. She couldn't get Robyn's attention without attracting Bradley's, too. He turned toward the hallway just as Kylie stepped back into the shadows.
Kylie did what any desperate woman would do in the situation — she ran, weight balanced on her tiptoes to silence the tread of her heels on the hardwood floor as she hugged the wall. The closest means of escape was a closed door on the left side of the hallway. She opened the door just enough to slip through, quietly pushing it shut behind her.
Standing behind the closed door, Kylie listened to the heavy tread of Bradley's cowboy boots as he walked past the room and down the hall to the bathroom. Looking around, she realized she was in an office. It was small in comparison to the other rooms she had seen in the house. From the moonlight shining in from a large, high window opposite the door, Kylie could see the built-in bookshelves that flanked the wall to her right. One bookshelf was almost completely filled with a complicated sound system.
Just the sort of thing one would expect to find in the office of the president of a record company, Kylie thought with some amusement.
The other bookshelf was filled to overflowing with books. It wasn't light enough to read the titles but Kylie figured, considering the occupant of the house, they were probably books about how to run a more efficient business, with a biography or two thrown in just for fun. Her own bookshelves were stocked with all her favorite romances and mysteries. She'd be hard-pressed to find a nonfiction book among the bunch.
The only furniture in the room was a comfy-looking overstuffed leather chair and ottoman in the corner to her right, a massive desk facing a wall of black-and-white pictures, and a swivel chair behind the desk that was turned toward the window. On top of the desk were some neat piles of paper, a pen and pencil set, and an antique Tiffany lamp with stained-glass flowers on the shade.
"Kylie?" The loud whisper jolted her out of her observation of the room.
Bradley was still out in the hall. Kylie contemplated giving herself up, but the idea of two more hours stuck listening to yet another musician's boring life story helped make her hasty decision.
She'd have to go out the window. Right outside that window was her car, and freedom. She could hunker down in the backseat and wait until Robyn finally decided she was partied out. Bradley would never think to look for her out there.
Resolutely, Kylie marched over to the large ottoman in the corner and dragged it across the carpeted floor. Pulling off her shoes, she hopped up onto the burgundy leather, opened the window, and pushed out the screen.
The air was chilly, even for an early autumn night in Seattle. The wind raised tiny goose bumps on her arms as she peered out the window to the ground below. It was farther down than she had hoped. On top of that, she would have to clear the row of bushes surrounding the front of the house like a moat.
"Here goes nothing," she whispered, tossing her shoes out the window and positioning both hands on the ledge for leverage. She flung her right leg over the sill. Teetering halfway between in and out, Kylie grimaced as the cold metal of the windowsill made contact with her warm inner thigh.
From his seat in the swivel chair behind his desk, David Gamble watched as one of the woman's shapely legs disappeared out the window. Her skirt settled itself high up on her remaining thigh. The filmy, almost transparent material caressed her stocking-clad skin and David felt his body respond instinctively. He took a deep, controlling breath, searching his mental Rolodex for the identity of his midnight intruder. He was very good with names and faces, and he was sure he would have remembered if they'd been introduced. It was obvious that the woman was trying to escape, but he wasn't going to let her go without knowing who she was and what in the world she was doing leaving through his office window.
"May I help you with something?" he asked politely.
Startled, the woman jerked her head in the direction of his voice.
The sudden movement threw her off balance. Before she could steady herself, she lost her hold on the windowsill. Her left leg flew up in the air and she tumbled out the window into the shrubbery below.
David stared at the place where the woman had been just a moment ago, surprised at this sudden turn of events. Having women tumble out of his house was not a usual Saturday night occurrence.
Stepping up onto the ottoman, David rested his folded arms on the windowsill. There was a rustling from the boxwoods below.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
Before she could answer, he heard a tentative knock on the door behind him as it opened.
"Excuse me, Mr. Gamble. Have you seen a woman with brown hair, about so tall?" a man wearing a black cowboy hat asked, holding his hand up around chest-level.
David paused. In the bushes, the woman with brown hair, about so tall, vigorously shook her head. He shrugged. If she didn't want the cowboy to find her, he had no problem playing along.
"No, I haven't seen anyone," David answered, leaning nonchalantly against the wall as if he often stood on the furniture to get a better view of the shrubbery. The cowboy was obviously not the suspicious type because he seemed to accept David's answer as he closed the door behind him.
"That was close." David heard the woman's relieved comment from the bushes.
He looked out over the sill. "May I ask why you chose to leap out the window rather than use the front door?"
"It's a rather long story," the woman replied, trying in vain to extricate herself from the greenery.
David hoisted himself up onto the windowsill. His jump to the ground was much better executed than hers. He cleared the shrubs by at least a foot. "Here, let me help."
Grabbing the woman gently under her armpits, he hauled her out of the bushes. His stomach muscles clenched as he felt the warmth of her fingers through his shirtsleeve. As she straightened, the fresh scent of her hair filled his nostrils. David felt a silky curl brush against his arm. Unable to resist, he reached out a hand to touch its softness.
Excerpted from Record Time by Beverly Brandt. Copyright © 2002 Beverly Brandt. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Beverly Brandt grew up in the Pacific Northwest, dreaming of becoming an author while on the all-too-frequent cold and rainy camping trips her family favored. Her life took a detour through fast food and financial analysis, but she finally returned to her first love--writing. She now lives in sunny Florida, thinking up new ways to torture her characters while ordering room service at beachfront hotels and vowing never to go near a tent again.
Beverly Brandt grew up in the Pacific Northwest, dreaming of becoming an author while on the all-too-frequent cold and rainy camping trips her family favored. Her life took a detour through fast food and financial analysis, but she finally returned to her first love--writing. She now lives in sunny Florida, thinking up new ways to torture her characters while ordering room service at beachfront hotels and vowing never to go near a tent again. Her books include The Tiara Club, Dream On, and Room Service.
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I absolutely love Beverly Brandt's books. So far this is my favorite of all her books. If you are into Chic Lit this author is for you. The main character is always endearingly clumsy or short sighted about life. They can be difficult to find in stores, however I have had great experiences with all the second hand book sellers connected with Barnes and Noble online. Happy Reading!
My first book to read to read of Beverly Brandt was Room Service and I loved every second of it. From there I purchased Record Time and this book was wonderful. Very romantic and I just could not put it down. Kylie reminds me of myself and when she is trying to do her very best and everything seems to fall apart. But David Gamble is a dream man. This is a wonderful book.
Author Beverly Brandt has done it again - and even better this time! I read RECORD TIME in record time. From the very beginning, I was hooked and could relate to Kylie. I found myself groaning and laughing and nodding at the many situations she gets herself into. I was a klutzy kid who took years to find my own talent in a family with several artist-types. David is as real to me as my next door neighbor (only much hunkier!) and his painful past with his own family tugged at my heart, making me cheer all the harder when he and Kylie just can't keep away from one another. They are a couple destined to be together, finding comfort in one another that has been lacking in their lives so far. The sexual tension between them is palatable, the humor sharp (often making me laugh out loud getting me strange stares in public), and the plot is engrossing. I now know a great deal about the recording industry - and didn't even realize I was learning it! I truly loved TRUE NORTH and I am so thrilled Ms. Brandt exceeded my expectations of her talent in RECORD TIME. Her balance of humor, vulnerablility, facts and excellent storytelling has found her books a place on my "keepers" shelf, you can be sure! I can't wait for the next one.
At a party hosted by Gamble Records CEO David Gamble, guest Kylie Rogers uses the first opportunity to escape the boredom of the lout with her by climbing out a window. However, Kylie will never make it as a cat burglar as she lands in a hedge. David watching her performance frees her from her predicament. She tells David that she is Kylie McGillicuddy before kissing him and escaping in a red Mustang. David Gamble wants to see the fascinating Kylie again so he searches for his mysterious guest, but fails to find her. Meanwhile, Kylie's sister, the hottest singer under company contract, uses her influence to obtain an accounting job for her sibling with Gamble Records. At fist David is delightd to see her again but when costly errors begin appearing in accounting David wonders if his new hire, who he is attracted to, is trying to destroy him. . Though tracing a red Mustang does not seem so difficult, readers will enjoy RECORD TIME, an amusing romantic suspense novel that is a top ten hit for Beverly Brandt. The lead couple is a delightful pair and the support cast, especially her sister, propel the story line forward. As the plot moves briskly between industry intrigue and humorous romantic interludes, both sides of the tale blend nicely together to provide an enjoyable novel. Harriet Klausner
At a party hosted by Gamble Records CEO David Gamble, guest Kylie Rogers uses the first opportunity to escape the boredom of the lout with her by climbing out a window. However, Kylie will never make it as a cat burglar as she lands in a hedge. David watching her performance frees her from her predicament. She tells David that she is Kylie McGillicuddy before kissing him and escaping in a red Mustang. David Gamble wants to see the fascinating Kylie again so he searches for his mysterious guest, but fails to find her. Meanwhile, Kylie's sister, the hottest singer under company contract, uses her influence to obtain an accounting job for her sibling with Gamble Records. Not long after her hiring, costly errors begin appearing in accounting. David wonders if his new hire, who he is attracted to, is trying to destroy him even as he fails to connect her to the woman he from the party he covets. Though tracing a red Mustang does not seem so difficult, readers will enjoy RECORD TIME, an amusing romantic suspense novel that is a top ten hit for Beverly Brandt. The lead couple is a delightful pair and the support cast, especially her sister, propel the story line forward. As the plot moves briskly between industry intrigue and humorous romantic interludes, both sides of the tale blend nicely together to provide an enjoyable novel. Harriet Klausner