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Bryce is a practical, plus-sized woman with an L.A. apartment located a world away from the fairytales of Hollywood. So, when a blonde in red leather shows up proclaiming to be a muse and deputizing Bryce, she thinks another L.A. kook has landed on her doorstep. But faster than Bryce can say, "No way, bye-bye, don't let the door hit your skinny ass on the way out," she finds herself in a toga and amulets that are wreaking havoc on her senses. The fight to get out of the toga and return to sanity leaves her butt ...
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Bryce is a practical, plus-sized woman with an L.A. apartment located a world away from the fairytales of Hollywood. So, when a blonde in red leather shows up proclaiming to be a muse and deputizing Bryce, she thinks another L.A. kook has landed on her doorstep. But faster than Bryce can say, "No way, bye-bye, don't let the door hit your skinny ass on the way out," she finds herself in a toga and amulets that are wreaking havoc on her senses. The fight to get out of the toga and return to sanity leaves her butt naked on the neighboring patio. When she realizes her gorgeous next door neighbor is RIGHT THERE with her, it's worse than any bad dream of showing up naked in high school. For Mr. Gorgeous, however, it's been a long time coming. He's been having fantasies of painting Bryce au naturel for months. He's had other fantasies, too, but the shy beauty has turned aside and ignored every attempt to get closer. Now that he's got her halfway there, he's pulling out all the stops. Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex and graphic language.
She sorted through the jumble of ideas she had brainstormed on the bus ride home from campus, their previous brilliance extinguished by more careful thought. The knock came again, more assured this time, and Bryce chewed at her bottom lip. She considered starting the story with a knock on the door. But who would be on the other side, and why?
The visitor spoke on the third round of knocking, both the words and raps coming sharp and fast. "I can hear you thinking in there. Open up!"
The odd choice of words broke her concentration.
Hear me thinking?
Bryce swiveled the office chair until she faced the door. Despite the heavy muffle of oak, she could tell the visitor was a woman, the voice feminine and totally unfamiliar.
"Yes, I said 'thinking'. Open the door, Bryce," the woman called again. "I certainly don't have all weekend to stand around."
She knows my name? The chair groaned in protest as Bryce rose, and she winced. She walked quietly to the door, hoping the visitor was only bluffing and hadn't heard the chair's squeak.
"Come on, doll baby, this won't take long."
Despite the endearment, the woman didn't sound anything other than persistent-and likely to draw a crowd from among the many nosy neighbors whose apartments ringed the building's courtyard. Just imagining a week or more worth of curious looks from her neighbors made Bryce's skin crawl.
Approaching the door from the side, she reached up and slid the chain lock into place. Then she undid the top two deadbolts and slowly turned the doorknob. Nervous energy ran through her hand and arm, and it took her a few seconds to realize she had opened the door as wide as the chain allowed.
The two inch slice of open door revealed a petite blonde, with powder blue eyes and a slash of killer red lipstick slickening her wide mouth. Except for the peek of black boots from beneath her pants, red leather hugged her slim frame. The material's shade, slightly darker than the lipstick, dipped toward a dried crimson. She looked, Bryce thought, like she'd just finished a shift on the corner of Hooker and Vine.
"'Hooker and Vine?' Is this how you start all job interviews?" the woman asked.
Bryce jerked back from the door, and her brows knitted together over whether she'd actually voiced the insult. The question was abruptly pushed out of mind as the woman's second question sank in.
"Job interview?" Bryce asked. It sounded like a sales pitch. Dressed like she was, the woman definitely had something to sell. Bryce put her palm flat on the door and started to push, but the blonde wedged her black-booted foot between the door and its frame.
Oh, hell, no. She just didn't. Did she?
Bryce cocked an eyebrow at the woman and slowly raised her bare foot, threatening to place it against the blonde's twig of a leg. The woman sighed at the threat, the air leaving her in a long curling manner like spirals of smoke from a half-chewed cigar.
Like spirals of smoke ... what the heck?
"You'll get used to it," the blonde smiled. "And if you don't, it's just for the weekend."
"Lady ..." Bryce began and looked around for something else to force the woman's foot back through the door, "I don't know what you're talking about, but you've got the wrong Bryce. Okay?"
"No, doll baby." Her smile pulled the already wide mouth into a broad, thin line of determination. "Bryce Schoene, right? Bryce the Beautiful."
Bryce the Beautiful. Well, that proved it-no one had ever called her beautiful.
"Lady, you've definitely got the wrong Bryce."
Red-tipped fingers reached through the door and wrapped around the safety chain. The air surrounding the woman's fist vibrated like a hummingbird's wings and then the chain snapped. She swept past the stunned Bryce and into the room's center before glancing at her watch.
"It's almost eight-fifteen in New York, doll baby," she said. She gave a casual flick of her wrist and the watch slid beneath the sleeve of her red leather jacket just as the apartment door slammed shut. "So here's the quick and dirty version, alrighty?"
Bryce put her hand up, hoping the "stop" motion seemed both calm and in command. "Why don't we discuss this out in the courtyard, La ... Miss?"
The darker ash blonde of the woman's manicured eyebrows shot halfway up her forehead, and she held one slim hand in front of her mouth, just far enough away to avoid smudging her lipstick. The giggle she seemed to be fighting back escaped and she dropped the hand to clutch at her stomach. The laugh only grew in volume. "First, I'm in your head, so don't waste time trying to trick me into the courtyard or anywhere else. Second, you can call me Percy for now."
"Percy ... well, that's a start, I guess-"
"A damn slow one," Percy interrupted. "Now where's the uniform? You have to wear it, you know, for this to work."
Bryce stared at her for a moment. A joke. It had to be a joke, even if she couldn't think of anyone who would bother to play one on her. Or maybe it was some new television show? Had the L.A. producers actually stooped so low they were invading people's homes now?
Excerpted from Reluctant Muse by Ann Vremont Copyright © 2006 by Ann Vremont. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted June 26, 2007
The author created a believable, touching and scorchingly hot relationship between the hero Walt and Bryce, his plus-sized heroine. I LOVED the muse Percy¿she¿s like the gorgeous older sister you want to strangle and was a great and funny secondary character¿and I found Erato¿s almost motherly concern for Bryce another strong component. I don¿t think I¿ll ever forget the scene in the loft with the body markers, when they are truly making their own magic. I¿ve already re-read Reluctant Muse several times in the three months I¿ve owned it and it¿s got a permanent spot on my keeper shelf!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2011
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