Read an Excerpt
Sex & The Single Girl
By Joanne Rock
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Copyright © 2003
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
"Hold on to your panties, girlfriends. It's raining men just outside our front door." Brianne Wolcott eyed the monitor
from security camera number three, the one with the best view of the crowd gathered at Club Paradise's Ocean Drive
entrance - and all the gorgeous guys waiting in line. The mob of people would be checking out the newly revamped disco
in another hour. Nervous energy hummed through her. As a new part-owner and head of security for the club, Brianne
needed to make sure tonight's reopening ran smoothly. "Looks like we're in for a busy night."
"My panties couldn't be more firmly in place if they were Super Glued to my hips." Lainie Reynolds, CEO of the
reorganized South Beach resort and nightclub, slid into the oversize leather chair behind Brianne's desk in the slick,
modern office housing the club's high-tech equipment. "Divorce will do that to you."
The four founding members of the soon-to-be hottest spot on Miami's trendy South Beach had called a meeting an hour
before they opened their doors for business. Although Club Paradise had been a wildly successful resort for couples
over the last five years, the three former partners behind that business - known locally as the Rat Pack - had
absconded with the profits.
Brianne's stepfather had been one of those partners, Lainie's husband another.
With Lainie's business savvy and legal guidance, the women left behind in the wake of the embezzlement scheme had
pulled together to restructure the company. Tonight they were reopening just the club. In a few weeks, they'd have the
rest of the resort refurbished and ready for guests.
The couples theme was out, however. Given that three of the four women who now owned the business had been deceived by
husbands or boyfriends in the Rat Pack, the new owners had no desire to market themselves for the sticky-sweet couples'
demographic. Club Paradise would slowly be overhauled into a singles' haven - a lush, hedonistic oasis for the
And although Brianne hadn't been dumped by a husband or boyfriend in the Rat Pack - merely inconvenienced by her
highly immoral stepfather - she'd still bought into the singles theme. She had a hideous track record in the dating
world, and even worse experience as part of a couple. She couldn't wait to enjoy the lavish, sensual luxuries the club
Summer Farnsworth, another founding partner and the ambiance coordinator for the club, approached the television screen
teeming with men. She blew a kinky blond curl out of her eyes and traced a finger over a muscle-bound motorcycle rider
who had pulled in front of the line outside. "I don't know, Lainie. Even Super Glue might not be strong enough to
resist the temptations we are going to be subjecting ourselves to in this line of work. Have you seen these guys?"
Brianne suspected Summer would be the quickest to find romance - or at least some sensual diversion - during the
course of their upcoming endeavor. Sort of a flower child throwback, Summer prided herself on lack of inhibitions and
what she called "living in the moment." While Brianne had never considered herself uptight, next to earthy Summer and
her seductive wardrobe of silk skirts and halter tops, Brianne sometimes feared her tailored clothes and dark colors
made her look downright repressed.
"Been there, done that," Lainie shot back, slowly spinning in the oversize black leather chair behind Brianne's
seldom-used desk, her sleek platinum hair not daring to move out of place. "And I lost half my life savings in the
process. You can decorate the club with as many nude statues and erotic paintings of flowers as you want, Summer, a new
relationship doesn't even begin to tempt me. What about you, Brianne? Are you looking for a Mr. Right Now tonight?"
Not yet. She was more interested in keeping an eye out for a Mr. Wrong from her ancient past. Rumor had it FBI
agent Aidan Maddock was investigating the scandal that had rocked the club last year, and he was the last man
Brianne needed to see. Sure, Aidan might have held more than a little appeal for her at one time, but the man held a
grudge against her stepfather and had proved himself impervious to Brianne's every seductive machination ten years ago.
He'd be better off remaining in her past.
But Brianne wasn't entirely comfortable with spilling her intimate thoughts to women she'd only known for all of a
month. "I'll be too busy doing my job."
Keeping an eye out for the agent she suspected would be watching Club Paradise very carefully. "Speaking of which, I've
got some security concerns I'd like to share as soon as Giselle arrives -"
"Sorry I'm late." On cue, the club's head chef, Giselle Cesare, burst through the office door. A petite, dark-haired
Italian-American, Giselle was a nonstop bundle of energy. She balanced a tray of exotic drinks topped with fortune
cookies in one hand. "I thought the start of our new venture deserved a toast." She lowered the tray of drinks on to
the desk with a flourish. "Introducing the Good Fortune Potion, newest specialty of the house."
While Summer squealed, Brianne hurried to stuff a glass in Lainie's hand. Lainie was having a difficult time getting
over the fact that her husband had not only embezzled half her money, he'd also indulged in a quick affair with Giselle
before he'd skipped town. What Lainie didn't seem to understand was that the bastard had hurt Giselle nearly as much in
the process, providing her with more guilt than a guileless twenty-five-year-old deserved. Giselle had had no idea that
the man had been married.
But even Lainie seemed to catch the momentary spirit of camaraderie and she sipped at her drink, too.
"This is awesome." Brianne raised her glass to the chef and temporary bartender. "But before we toast the grand
opening, I wanted to suggest we open our doors a little earlier than we anticipated to try and minimize the crowds out
front. There are already journalists swarming and I don't want our guests getting hassled about the club's old
scandals." Nor did she want to miss her stepfather's nemesis, agent Aidan Maddock, if he tried to get in the disco
Lainie and Summer were both shaking their heads before she finished. Lainie set her fortune cookie on a cocktail napkin
atop Brianne's shiny lacquered desk.
"We want the press, Bri, even if it's negative," she argued. "And we definitely don't want to lose the long line out
front as that's one of the main elements of cachet for a hot spot."
"Not to mention the moon is void of course until almost eleven tonight," Summer added, clutching one of her crystal
necklaces as if for good luck. "We agreed to open at eleven because by then the moon will be entering Aries and the
stars will be in a favorable position for the new venture."
Brianne focused very hard on her fortune cookie to prevent herself from rolling her eyes. "But it's difficult for the
surveillance cameras to detect images with the bright lights of the television crew glaring into their lenses. I'd hate
to have a security breach our first night because we failed to take a few simple precautions."
Excerpted from Sex & The Single Girl
by Joanne Rock
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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