Satisfaction

Satisfaction

4.1 12
by Marianne Stillings
     
 

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Hotshot private eye Ethan Darling regulary risks his life to collar dangerous criminals, but he's pretty sure his latest assignment will be as easy as apple pie. He's the new bodyguard for Georgiana Mundy, culinary queen and host of her own top-rated TV show. But while protecting the delicious diva from a man in her past, he's surprised to find that it's not just

Overview

Hotshot private eye Ethan Darling regulary risks his life to collar dangerous criminals, but he's pretty sure his latest assignment will be as easy as apple pie. He's the new bodyguard for Georgiana Mundy, culinary queen and host of her own top-rated TV show. But while protecting the delicious diva from a man in her past, he's surprised to find that it's not just her delectable desserts that are making his mouth water.

It's getting harder and harder for Ethan to keep his mind off the brunette bombshell and on his job. Soon he and Georgie are creating some incredible heat—both in and out of the kitchen. But if Ethan can't hunt down the dangerous enemy out to destroy her, he and his new love are going to get burned.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060850661
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/27/2007
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
938,206
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Satisfaction

Chapter One

Sleeping single in a double bed? Then think pink, the color of love and romance! Wear pink to attract your Mr. Right—shell-pink, rose, magenta, any hue will do. Snuggle between pink sheets, nosh on pink foods, and splash the doorway over your bedroom with passionate pink paint. When you're "in the pink" you won't need to go looking for love, honey; it'll smack right into you!

Georgiana Mundy's Feng Shui for Lovers

A bell pinged, and the set of double doors slid open. Stepping inside the empty elevator, Ethan Darling thumbed the button for the thirty-first floor, then crossed his arms and leaned his shoulder against the cherrywood paneling, watching as the polished steel panels began to glide quietly together.

"Wait, wait, wait!"

Fingers fluttered between the closing doors like a frantic butterfly.

Without thinking, Ethan thrust his hand through the narrow gap, curling his fingers around the edge of the cool metal door at the exact moment a pink blur shot into the car and slammed into his chest, knocking him back a few steps. A forehead conked him on the nose, causing sharp pain between his eyes, and momentarily blurring his vision.

The woman was either a klutz or a clever assassin. Before he could decide which, her heel crunched down on his right foot, and he clenched his jaw to keep from calling her a very ungentlemanly name. Her abrupt movements gave her gigantic shoulder bag the momentum of a wrecking ball, and as it headed directly for his nuts, he jerked his hips back just in time to salvage his manhood.

Somewherealong the line, he'd grabbed her shoulders and pulled her against his body to keep them both from falling. Through the fabric of his suit jacket and shirt, he felt firm muscle, solid bone, and warm feminine flesh where her boobs and belly met his torso.

Her head lowered, she was panting hard, and had looped her arms around his neck to steady herself. Anybody entering the elevator would have sworn they were lovers locked in a passionate embrace—unless they happened to notice the look of agony mixed with the ecstasy on his face.

For a moment, the compartment grew quiet while he stared down at the top of her head. Finally, he murmured thinly, "You hurt?"

She kept her head down as she disentangled her arms from around his neck and pushed herself off him. In a husky voice, she whispered, "I'm embarrassed."

He dropped his arms to his sides, suddenly not knowing what to do with them. Her body had fit him so perfectly, felt so good, he was almost sorry their little skirmish was over.

Running her fingers through her glorious tumble of long brown hair, she apparently tried to smooth the tangled mass, but only succeeded in galvanizing his attention. Ms. Smackdown was really a knockout.

Finally she raised her face, their eyes locked, hers widened, and she rushed, "I hurt you! Oh, God, I'm so sorry!" She lifted her hand as if to touch his cheek, but seemed to think better of it, curled her fingers in, and lowered her arm.

"I'm fine," he bit out, realizing as he did so that the pain in his side had flared again. Maybe his abrupt movements had irritated the scarring, but suddenly the wound burned like hell, and it was all he could do to keep from snapping at her to leave him the hell alone.

She examined him more closely. "But I see pain there, in your eyes. Are you sure I didn't—"

"Positive." He wanted to clutch his ribs, but didn't make a move.

A warning bell sounded, and he realized her purse had dropped into the open doorway, preventing the doors from closing. He reached past her to pick it up, the bell ceased ringing, the doors slid together, and the elevator began to rise.

Finally, he thought with relief as he handed her the bag.

She smiled sheepishly up at him. "I, um, I hope I didn't cause any damage when my purse hit you."

He shrugged, noticing the brown of her irises, sort of like melty bits of chocolate toffee. Her lashes were dark, too, and sooty, making her eyes appear languid and mesmerizing. For a couple of seconds, he totally forgot how to breathe. If his heartbeat wasn't set on automatic, he'd've needed jumper cables to get it going again.

"I'm running late this morning," she explained with a flirty little grin. "Normally, I don't tackle strange men in elevators."

When he didn't say anything, she leaned back against the polished wood, crossing her arms under her breasts, drawing his attention there like a homing beacon. She tilted her head, and sent him the prettiest smile he'd ever seen. He got the impression she looked at injured puppies in exactly the same way.

Squaring his shoulders, straightening his stance, he strengthened his defenses. She was too womanly or something. Too feminine. A real girly-girl. He hated that.

"You're not exactly a chatterbox," she observed. "Do you accept my apology?"

Maybe it was the husky quality of her voice, maybe it was the sincerity he read in her eyes, maybe it was the scent of her floral perfume, but something struck him hard, square in the chest, dead center, like a shot from a crossbow.

Normally, he was smooth with women, sophisticated, but standing next to Ms. Knockout made him feel totally out of his element, as though he'd never spoken to a girl before in his life. Good thing he wasn't the talkative type, otherwise he might blurt out something he'd really regret, such as, When can I see you again?

Unwilling to answer her question and give away how she affected him, he only nodded.

He diverted his attention to the elevator doors. Just how the hell long did it take to go up thirty-one floors? he wondered, turning his anger on the elevator buttons. He thumbed the lighted 31 five or six times in rapid succession. Yeah, it was stupid, but at least it gave him something to do that didn't involve thoughts of his elevator companion.

Satisfaction. Copyright © by Marianne Stillings. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Marianne Stillings has loved stories with happy endings since she was three years old and her mother read her The Little Golden Book of The Ugly Duckling. Originally from California, these days she lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she’s the single mom of two fantastic daughters, and where she takes shelter from the rain by writing happy endings of her own.

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Satisfaction 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
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KALM-TV manager Osgood Horton hires Paladin Private Investigations to keep their star Georgiana Mundy, the cooking queen of CaliforniYum, safe as he thinks someone wants to harm her. Former cop turned private investigator Ethan Darling is assigned to protect Georgie. Ethan and Georgie already met on the building¿s elevator when she rushing to catch it accidentally attacked him and stomped on his foot. However, while he discusses the job with Osgood, she fakes a faint AROUSING SUSPICIONS in Ethan¿s mind that she is hiding something behind a sham Ethan cannot fathom what that is. As he stays close, they fall in love, her secret implodes leaving her in danger, but Ethan, though he is not sure from what or who, will not allow anyone to harm his darling ¿Grasshopper¿ even if she drives him crazy with her moving his furniture feng shui style. --- The Darlings may be the most dysfunctional detective family around, but few lead characters are as zany and weirdly functional as New Age Georgie is. The story line is fast-paced and filled with humor while the danger enhances a wild contemporary romance. Readers will enjoy this Darling drama, as Mr. Short-tempered turns into Mr. SATISFACTION when he falls in love with Ms. Strange temptation. --- Harriet Klausner