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Romancing The Tycoon
By Debra Webb
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneChicago ... inside the Colby Agency
Amy Wells flipped to the next page of her Glamour magazine: "The Perfect Man ..."
She lifted a skeptical eyebrow at the perfect-man assets listed by women between the ages of eighteen and thirty polled by the sassy magazine. Tall, broad-shouldered, well-muscled and sinfully handsome. That about summed it up, she mused. What guy who looked like that wouldn't fit the profile?
One word ... that's all it took to send her mood back into a depressive state.
Profile. She wanted to do profiles ... to work under-cover. To be a Colby Agency investigator.
She sighed woefully. She'd given up on the fairy tale. She wasn't going to find Mr. Right or Mr. Perfect. Though she was only twenty-five, she longed for a steady, satisfying relationship. It just wasn't happening. And it wasn't just her. Lots of her friends had the same problem. Where were all the good men?
They no longer existed, she had decided, and promptly she'd thrown herself into her job. If she couldn't have a great sex life with the man of her dreams, she could at least have a great job. So far she'd managed to come a long way. She'd been hired by the Colby Agency, the most prestigious private investigations firm in the state, if not the country. She'd worked her way from receptionist to personal assistant. But she longed for more. She wanted to be a real agent, to track down the answers ... the bad guys.
Another wistful sigh seeped past her lips as she stuffed the magazine back into her desk drawer. Break time was over. No more fantasizing for today. Time to get back to the real world.
Amy glanced forlornly at the stack of folders to be sorted and filed. Though she appreciated very much her latest promotion to personal assistant, it wasn't enough. Mildred, Victoria Colby-Camp's loyal secretary, was a great lady to work for, but Amy longed for so much more.
She'd read every single final report on every case the Colby Agency had taken on in the past three years. At first, she'd been content to serve as receptionist and merely watch with growing interest as the investigators the agency employed went about their intriguing business. To be honest, she'd been a little intimidated by the likes of Ian Michaels and Simon Ruhl. But then a new female investigator had been hired, Nicole Reed-Michaels. That had changed everything for Amy.
Though Amy had heard about the agency's first female investigator, Katherine Robertson, who'd married the infamous secret agent Jack Raine, watching one in action was a whole other ball game. Nicole's supreme intelligence and slick, super-agent demeanor had kindled an unquenchable passion in Amy to follow in her esteemed footsteps. Amy wanted to be a Colby agent. She wanted a case of her own. One where she would uncover the identity of the bad guy. Where she would save the day and make Victoria proud.
She wanted to be one of the best.
If only she could somehow garner the boss's attention in that light. She'd started taking self-defense classes about a year ago and was pretty good if she did say so herself. She'd also sharpened her observation skills by teaching herself to pay attention to even the smallest detail. She'd even signed up for a private investigator class at the local spy shop. She'd learned all kinds of interesting things there and just by listening around the office. It wasn't as though she had dates lining up to fill her calendar.
What more could she do?
She was twenty-five! Time was running out. Before long her best years would be behind her and she wouldn't have accomplished the one thing she wanted more than anything else: to be a Colby agent.
The magazine in her drawer nagged at her. Okay, so she still wanted to meet the right guy as well. But she realized now that her first priority was getting her career on track. She'd thought long and hard about it and had realized what could happen if she fell in love first. Certainly there was nothing wrong with falling in love. Even the venerable Colby agents fell in love on a regular basis, most of the time while on a case.
A dreamy smile slid across Amy's face. Now that would just about make things perfect. Getting her career headed in the right direction while at the same time finding the perfect man. Instantly her heart rate picked up an extra beat.
But then, that probably wouldn't happen. It just made her feel better to believe that her career kept her too busy to think about her social life. And hoping against hope that her career would kick in at the same time that she'd meet the man of her dreams was a nice fantasy.
Oh well, it kept the cynicism at bay.
The telephone on her desk buzzed, summoning her back to earth for a cold, hard reality check.
She was still a personal assistant. And finding the perfect man was about as likely as was stumbling onto the precise case that would finally get Victoria's attention.
Waiting for hell to freeze over was a wiser bet.
"Amy Wells," she said automatically, answering the telephone before it buzzed for the second time.
"The Hanover file?" Amy listened as Mildred confirmed the name of the file she needed. "Right away," she said in answer to the request that it be brought to her office as soon as possible.
Pushing her troubling thoughts aside, Amy went off to the records room in search of the Hanover file. Her fantasy might never become a reality, but at least she could keep dreaming. There was no law against that or any statute of limitations. To hell with admitting defeat, she'd just keep reaching for the brass ring.
With that in mind, her imagination instantly conjured a shadowy image of the perfect man. One who was everything the magazine poll said he should be and more. A grin tugged at her lips as she opened the drawer labeled H and flipped through the folders. One who needed rescuing by a woman like her.
Amy Wells, Colby agent-in-training.
Excerpted from Romancing The Tycoon by Debra Webb Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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