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Sleeping With The Playboy
By Julianne MacLean
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHere we go - trotting into someone else's world again. Jocelyn Mackenzie followed her client out of the mahogany-paneled elevator and across the marble vestibule, to the double doors of the ritzy Chicago penthouse. She glanced up at the crystal chandelier overhead and the modern steel sculpture against the side wall, and felt the familiar onslaught of awe.
Not that she hadn't seen her share of fancy penthouses and stone mansions. To be honest, that's where she usually took assignments as a bodyguard, because quite simply, the average Joe couldn't afford her.
It was for reasons of her own, however, that she would never choose this kind of lavish, pretentious lifestyle for herself.
The elevator doors slid closed behind them, and Dr. Reeves knocked on the door. Jocelyn waited beside him, hands clasped at her back, curious as to how her potential "principal" would answer. Would he open the door without asking who it was, or would he use the optical viewer?
The crystal knob turned, and the door swung open. She'd have to educate her client about that.
Before she could give that another thought, however, Jocelyn found herself gazing up at a handsome, golden-haired gentleman dressed in a tuxedo, his starched, white shirt unbuttoned at the neck, his black bow tie undone and dangling in front. Slender and strong, tall and confident, with just the right mixture of arrogance and appeal, he was alarmingly, heart-stoppingly gorgeous.
This was a man who belonged on the cover of GQ magazine - a man who made Jocelyn's breath stop and twirl around in her throat. Before she realized it, she'd taken a stupefied step back.
Good God, what was wrong with her? This was a business call.
Sweeping her feminine instincts out of her head and summoning more professional ones, she surmised that this wealthy doctor undoubtedly had his share of obsessed lovers. Potential stalkers were probably where she should begin if his case was typical.
The man's green eyes warmed at the sight of Dr. Reeves, then his gaze moved leisurely to Jocelyn and settled on her face.
"Mark, what are you doing here?" he asked, looking at Jocelyn, not Mark. His voice was calm, but there was an underlying sensuality as he watched Jocelyn, a tone that warned her right off that he was a flirt.
Why wouldn't he be? Most women would probably fall at his feet for a single moment's pleasure of being the object of that fiery gaze.
She chastised herself again. He's a client, Jocelyn. Those thoughts should not even be in your brain.
Still holding the door open, he backed up a step. "Come in."
Dr. Reeves gestured for Jocelyn to enter first. She stepped inside, her loafers hushed by the oriental rug as she took in the style of the penthouse - the marble floors, the Grecian columns and the sheer square-footage and height of the ceilings. Classical music played softly from the living room just ahead of her, where the lighting was dim and restful. A glass of red wine had been placed on the coffee table. An open, hard-covered book lay beside it.
Jocelyn looked up at another enormous crystal chandelier over her head in the center of the foyer, then pulled her gaze down and held out her hand. "Dr. Knight, I'm Jocelyn Mackenzie."
He hesitated a moment, then shook it. "It's a pleasure to meet you." He looked over her shoulder at Dr. Reeves. "What's this all about?"
Jocelyn turned. Dr. Reeves, the man who had retained her to be Dr. Knight's bodyguard for the indeterminable future, fumbled for an answer. The two doctors stared at each other for a second or two.
Oh, no. "He's not expecting us?" she asked Dr. Reeves.
"Should I be?"
Jocelyn felt her temper begin to rise. She didn't like being misled, nor did she wish to work for anyone who wasn't absolutely in need of her help. In desperate need. She had been under the impression that Dr. Knight was anxious for her to begin. His friend, Dr. Reeves, had told her about the intruder who'd broken into this penthouse a few nights ago, and the threatening letter that had come the next day.
Hell, she'd already done the advance breakdowns on Dr. Knight's parking garage, the hospital where he worked and his regular route to and from.
"Now, wait a second, let me explain," Dr. Reeves said.
"Explain what?" her principal replied.
Jocelyn shook her head and stared at the man who'd hired her. "He's waiting, Dr. Reeves, and frankly so am I."
"What the hell's going on here?"
Dr. Reeves raised his hands. "Calm down, both of you. Donovan, I wanted you to meet Ms. Mackenzie before you said no."
"Said no to what?" He took in Jocelyn's full appearance, from her starched white shirt and brown blazer, down the length of her pants to her brown leather shoes. "Who are you?"
Jocelyn squared her shoulders. "I've been hired to be your bodyguard, Dr. Knight, but I was under the impression you wanted one."
"A bodyguard? Mark, you had no right -"
"I had every right. You're my partner and I'm not about to lose you and have to cover all our patients while you're laid up or dead. I'd be on call 24-7, and that was never how we intended to run our practice." Dr. Reeves's cheeks colored. "Besides, I'm worried about you, buddy."
The two men stood in silence, as if neither was sure what to say to the other.
"Maybe I should leave," Jocelyn said. "You two can discuss this, and when you've got it figured out, you can call me, though I can't guarantee I'll be available." She turned to go, wishing she had taken Congressman Jenkin's request instead.
Dr. Reeves grabbed her arm as she tried to pass. "Ms. Mackenzie, please wait."
Jocelyn glanced down at his hand, tight around her elbow, then sent him a warning look.
He immediately released her.
"Dr. Knight needs your services, and his patients need him. Chicago can't afford to lose its best heart surgeon, nor can I lose a friend."
She shook her head. "It's his choice, not yours. I need cooperation from my clients. They have to be willing and eager to work with me and take the situation seriously. Without that kind of commitment from the people I work with, I walk."
She tried to leave again. Dr. Reeves followed her into the vestibule. Jocelyn pressed the elevator button.
"Please, I'm begging you," Dr. Reeves said.
"Stay and check things out. See what you can do for him."
Excerpted from Sleeping With The Playboy by Julianne MacLean 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.