Ben Callahan readily accepted the offer from Emma Montgomery. As a private investigator, he is more accustomed to clients who tried to weasel their way around expenses and final pay, rather than Emma's generous offer. He not only needs to cover his own bills, but also the cost of the independent living community where he has placed his mother. Emma's job is also intriguing. Emma believes her granddaughter is "in the process of finding herself and she needs a keeper."
The first moment Ben sees the picture of Emma's granddaughter, he's hooked. Just looking at Grace Montgomery's picture is enough to rev up his libido. So Ben travels to New York City, taking the apartment across the hall from Grace. When he sees Grace in person, his reaction is equally instant and intensive.
The sight of Ben in her hall sends Grace's adrenaline pumping. She has escaped to New York to experience life and discover her self-identity. A treat like Ben is just one of the perks of living away from home, even if she mostly watches from a distance. Ben adds spark and zing simply with his presence. Grace has had enough of men who wine and dine her for her connections and family money. She believes Ben to be different. He seems to let her know up front just who he is and what he wants. Little does Grace suspect Ben's connection to her grandmother.
Carly Phillips presents a highly seductive novel in Simply Sensual. Her heroine lends the novel a marvelous sparkle with her spirit and spunk. Phillips also lends comic relief with Emma Montgomery, who is charming, refreshing, and addictive. I would love to see her matchmaking skills reoccur in another of Phillips' delightful romances! Highly recommended.
Read an Excerpt
By Carly Phillips
Wheeler Publishing Copyright © 2004 Carly Phillips
All right reserved.
Chapter One Ben Callahan frowned at the bone china cup on the sterling serving tray in front of him. Unable to fit one of his large fingers through the handle, he tried instead to hold the delicate cup with his whole hand. He'd have chucked the idea of attempting to grasp the cup, if not for his elderly hostess. Emma Montgomery had declared it was teatime, and from what Ben had seen, he wouldn't be getting any information out of her until he'd shared in her daily ritual.
He'd never understand the wealthy, nor did he care to try. He'd had a good deal of experience with the breed, none of it leaving a positive impression. His mother had scrubbed floors for a living and he'd seen firsthand how poorly the help was treated. He'd whisked his mother away from menial labor and verbal abuse as soon as he was old enough to support them both.
It was ironic, really. Most of the clients he'd accumulated as a private investigator had money to burn. Ben didn't mind taking their cash. It paid not only his bills, but the extra money covered the cost of the independent living community where he'd placed his mother. He considered it payback for her years of service.
The elderly woman seated across from him was a potential client. She'd been referred to him by an acquaintance in her social set, one heremembered from the time he'd worked for her last year. So far Emma Montgomery, his hostess, had been refreshing, both charming and persistent at the same time.
While other clients tried to whittle away at his expenses and final take, despite their ability to afford his reasonable fee, Emma Montgomery had paid his airfare and expenses from New York City to Hampshire, Massachusetts, to discuss her reasons for wanting to hire him. As further enticement, she'd named a hefty sum he'd never seen before on a single case, and promised him free rein with expenses, no questions asked. All before she'd explained why she needed his services.
Ben was not only intrigued, but inclined to accept. The money she'd promised would enable him to have his mother moved from independent living to assisted care. With her eyesight rapidly deteriorating, she couldn't live alone and this case might make the upgraded care possible. If it meant putting up with idiosyncrasies like teatime, he'd force himself to endure.
He met his hostess's gaze. Piercing brown eyes regarded him from over the rim of her cup. I'm waiting, she seemed to be saying. There was nothing he could do but raise the cup and take a sip.
The minute the hot liquid passed his lips, she said, "My granddaughter needs a sitter. Do you have any interest in the job?"
He swallowed fast, burning his tongue and nearly losing his precarious hold on the fine china. No way he'd heard her correctly. She was offering all that good money for him to play baby-sitter? He shook his head. "Excuse me?"
"Perhaps I didn't phrase that quite right. I think maybe keeper is the correct word." She tapped the side of her head, without messing the perfect bun in her gray hair. "Yes, that's right. My granddaughter is in the process of finding herself and she needs a keeper."
He placed the cup onto the saucer before he could do serious damage. "I think you've been misinformed, Mrs. Montgomery." Good money or not, Ben drew the line at baby-sitting.
"Call me Emma." Her smile grew wider.
"Emma. I'm a private investigator. I don't babysit wayward children. Just how old is your granddaughter anyway?"
Emma reached onto the table beside the couch, holding a photo in her hand. She turned the picture toward him.
The woman staring back at him was no child. Honey-blond hair, warm brown eyes and a face as delicate as the china he'd recently held stared back at him. A rush of desire hit Ben hard and a shot of adrenaline jump-started his heart.
"She's almost thirty and quite a beauty, isn't she?" Emma asked, pride lilting her voice.
He met the older woman's gaze and shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "She's ... something all right." A golden princess.
In his profession Ben was used to observing people and photographs. He was used to forming opinions and going with gut instinct. He was rarely mistaken in his impressions and never blindsided by a pretty face. And he'd always been able to remain detached. Until now.
This woman was beautiful enough to affect his senses and sensual enough to rev up his libido. Her eyes reflected a wealth of emotion and hidden secrets - secrets he yearned to uncover. The assignment he'd been about to throw away had suddenly become one he couldn't resist and a distinct sense of unease slithered through him.
"Grace moved to New York City a few years ago," Emma said. "She's always lived off the trust her parents set up for her as a child. No steady job, no steady man." She said the last with enforced meaning before she appraised Ben from his work boots to his unkempt hair.
He shook his head as if he could rid himself of her penetrating stare. "And what's going on with Grace that's prompted you to contact me now?"
"She's stopped withdrawing money from her trust and decided it's time to live on her own."
"I'd think that was an admirable move," Ben said, having more respect for the new Grace than the one who had lived off her family money for years.]
Excerpted from Simply Sensual by Carly Phillips Copyright © 2004 by Carly Phillips. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.